Spring is around the corner, which means if you’re in the market for a home, you’ll be able to enjoy the pleasant weather when looking at different properties.

In fact, spring often brings a burst of listing activity, so you may be looking at a bigger selection of homes than you would have just months ago. However, with more home options means more opportunities to miss or ignore the important details in your search. Keep your home search organized whether you see one or ten properties with a quick and easy checklist.

The more you organize your home search, the easier it will be to make a decision. 

Exterior Elements To Pay Attention To

Roof: What state is the roof in from what you can see? Are there missing shingles or visible holes? If you see a new roof, your costs may be lower in the long run on everything from insurance to future repair.

Driveway: Is there a driveway, and is it in need of repair? Adding some new bricks won’t be too much of an additional cost, but a misaligned driveway could indicate that the ground needs to be properly leveled.

Overall area: Are you looking for quiet streets for your future children? Look at the traffic patterns and noise levels when you visit properties. You also want to note whether the area is prone to flooding or other natural disasters that could pose a serious future problem. Sellers are required to disclose any property drainage issues—but they don’t always do so.

Foundation: When you walk around the property, do you notice any severe cracks on the exterior of the house? Does the property incline change in different areas? You want to make sure there is a stable foundation in place.

Interior Elements To Pay Attention To

Appliances: Are the existing appliances old and in need of replacement? That could add up to thousands of dollars that you need to spend when you move in. Look at everything from appliances in the kitchen to washer/dryers.

Plumbing: Look under sinks in bathrooms and kitchens to see what the pipes look like. If you notice mold, significant rust, or other damage that may indicate a problem, you could end up spending more to make the home livable. Turn on every faucet, run showers, and even flush toilets to verify that everything works.

Heating and Cooling: If you need to replace an old furnace, you’re going to be making a serious investment in the first few years you live in the home. Since you’re looking in spring, you may not be experiencing heating or cooling systems on, so make sure you double and triple check their status.

Electric: Look for wall outlets, particularly in places like a living room or study where you’ll be powering multiple items. Take a phone charger along and plug it into different outlets to make sure they really do work. Turn on light switches to see if there are any dead zones in the house’s electricity.

Windows: Are the windows open or closed? Make sure they do open or close and see if you notice any drafts of colder air by them.

Insulation: Along with windows, is the attic or basement insulated? Does one area of the house feel like a different temperature from another? Check out insulation to make sure it’s not worn or missing altogether.

Keeping a checklist will help you ask the right questions when seeing properties. 

General Factors To Pay Attention To

Odors: When you walk around outside do you get any odors of sewage or gas? Did the homeowner or listing agent spray an overwhelming amount of air freshener inside that could be masking another problem? Take a sniff under sinks, in closets, and under cabinets to see if there are any hints of mold, cigarette smoke, or other odors that the seller doesn’t want you to know about.

Disrepair: Is the lawn overgrown? Are there water stains marring the interior paint? If you see signs of cosmetic disrepair, that could indicate a lack of maintenance and upkeep, which could mean you won’t know about a more significant problem until it’s too late.

When you decide on a home, you’ll ultimately have a home inspection done by an accredited professional who will verify any problems with the house. They will let you know what needs to be repaired, what needs to be replaced, and even how big of a job it will be. However, the more attention you pay to properties from the start, the less surprised you’ll be when the inspection comes.

Make the home buying process even easier on yourself by getting pre-approval for a loan. Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you with loan programs.

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