When you’re looking for a new house, there are probably a million things on your mind. You need to make sure you have the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, you want an updated kitchen, the house needs to be in the right school district, and the list goes on and on. While those things are important, there are others things you need to pay attention to as well. Here are some features you need to keep your eye on when you’re touring a house you’re thinking about purchasing.
One of the first things you should look at when you enter a house for sale is the windows. Not only do you want your windows to look nice, they need to be functional as well. You want to make sure they open and close properly, and they should seal well, too. Drafty windows that let air escape can increase your energy bills by 10% to 25%. If the windows are old or in bad shape, you’ll either be spending money to replace the windows, or you’ll be dishing out the dough when you have to pay your heating and cooling bills month to month.
The septic system
Roughly one-quarter of homes in the United States use a septic system. If the home you’re touring doesn’t have one, then you have nothing to worry about. If it does, though, you need to make sure you check it out. The septic system collects sewage underground and lets it decompose naturally so you don’t have to deal with a mess at any point in time. If you notice the septic systems smells unusual, it’s pooling water, or the drains are slow, then something is probably wrong with the system.
Condition of the floors
Many homeowners are looking for new hardwood floors, so that’s something to pay attention to on your house tour. If you already have nice wood floors, then you’re good to go. If you’re looking at an older home that doesn’t necessarily have updated flooring, then you need to inspect it because you never know what might be living in it. For example, even the best vacuum on the market will only pick up roughly 15% of the dirt in your carpet. Old, dirty carpets can cause serious health problems for you and your family, so you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into with the floors.
Modular construction is gaining popularity, and many newer houses are made using modular construction. It not only speeds up the building process and reduces the price of the build, it’s better for the environment too. In fact, modularly constructed homes reduce energy consumption during the building process by roughly 67%, and they reduce energy costs later on for the occupants. If the home isn’t modular, that shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it can be a serious perk.
The orientation of the house
That’s right, the orientation of the house is going to affect your life once you move in. The way the home is positioned greatly affects how much natural light gets in. It influences heating and cooling bills as well. South-facing homes get a ton of natural light, which is nice for the aesthetics, but your house will heat up a lot when the sun is beaming in for hours at a time. Deep eaves and blackout curtains may help keep the house cooler, so again, not a deal breaker. Still, it’s something to consider.
The condition of the roof
It’s hard to see the roof when you’re touring a house without climbing up there, so many buyers don’t think to look at it. The condition of the roof can drastically change the quality of the house though. You might have a ton of leaks when it rains, or there might be extensive water damage if the roof is in rough shape. Plus, in order to replace a roof, it could cost you anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 depending on the size and the extent of the damage.
Foundation problems are another huge expense that might just turn you off from buying a house. If you notice serious cracks and/or leaks in the foundation, there might be water damage, which is expensive to fix. Some small cracks might just mean the home is settling, and that’s not always a big deal. Make sure you order an inspection on a house if you think there might be foundation problems so the professionals can help you determine the risk.
Sometimes, older houses have an odd smell to them, and that doesn’t always mean anything bad. If you do smell something musty, it could still mean water damage. While you’re touring the house, check the walls and the ceilings for water lines. they can indicate any flooding from a leak or burst pipe in the basement. You also want to check for rust, water stains, or leaking. They too can point to water damage.
Don’t let the beautiful kitchen or updated bathrooms convince you to buy a house with major red flags. Make sure you look for these warning signs during the initial tour. The best thing you can do is have a professional inspect the house before you put any offers in so you know exactly what you’re getting into.