So you’re deciding to buy a home, if it’s the first time you do might want to consider a few things as you look for that perfect home. If it’s not your first one, typically you learn from your mistakes and already know some of these, but might be worth reminding yourself if a couple of things before you put in that offer.
- Location is about the only thing you can’t change, you can change everything inside your home, including the layout and the dividing walls, but the location is something your stuck with guaranteed, so that busy road, those noisy stores next to you, the far off school and park you’ll have to drive to, those things won’t change.
- Get an assessor yourself; do not rely on one from the real estate agent (even yours). Typically, they will not mention certain things to get the sale closed and get their commission from the agent (even if it is yours). Get your own and you are less likely to have hidden problems unreported.
- If the seller won’t reduce the price (or if you are the seller and don’t want to go lower) negotiate some of the items in the house to be included (i.e. that TV, or a certain couch or dining table). It’s a win-win because it will reduce the amount of things the seller will move, and you already know how it looks in the house (less for you to buy as well).
- As you walk in pretend your going through a day in your life, check the door, go upstairs “to change” and the bathroom, then back down to watch TV and then off to the kitchen. Go through your daily motions to see how things work for you on a day-to-day basis. This will be the route you take the most though your house and if anything is off you’ll know it then.
- If it’s an apartment take a good look at the elevators, they will make all the difference in your living experience, and if the elevators seem busy, slow or not enough for a large building, raise a red flag in your mind and weigh that option.
- Come another time and pass by the house or building, look at the people that will live around you (particularly evening time) to see if its noisy, a lot of rowdy kids or pets, people yelling or certain smells. Like location, neighbours are almost unlikely to change.
- Go for an open house mid afternoon to see peak lighting into the unit, if the sun is too intrusive or not enough light. That will mean additional heating or A/C, a depressing dark unit or an overly bright one. Best time to check it out instead of evening or nighttime.
- Look at the details that you might not otherwise catch, it’s not just the kitchen and rooms you’re look at:
- The ventilation openings, are they dirty? Chances are a duct cleaning will be needed
- The post box lock and door, it’ll cost you about $150 to fix it, this should be already in good shape and can be added as a condition
- Toilets flushing and water sinks working (make sure hot and cold are working)
- Check the roofs, are their leak stains visible or patched up work (you can tell from the uneven roof surface)
- Check the doors, are they smooth and close well, including the sliding closet doors and backyard or balcony doors
Any other tips worth noting? This can make the difference between two properties you really want. You may still get a home with all these boxes unchecked, but at least you can negotiate some of this fixes into the purchase contract when you do bid.