When you drive up to a house what is the first thing you notice? Is it the style, curb appeal, or the neighbor’s house? Buying or renting a home is a big decision. I think that it can take a lot of people by surprise the amount of work it takes to find something that suits their needs and wants. When looking for a home my family always put together a list of things that are 1). needed and 2). wanted. When buying or renting it is important to distinguish between the two and having an idea of the two before even stepping into a home is essential for a smooth buying experience. Below are some helpful hints:
1. Style of Home
The style of the house is important. You may have to live there a long, long time. If stairs are an issue, you may want to choose a ranch or colonial style.
Once inside does the layout work for you and your family? Open concepts are the most sought after because it keeps everyone in the household together while giving each of them space. When the kitchen is closed in, it isn’t much fun for the person preparing a meal while everyone else is in the dining room, family room or outdoors.
2. Kitchens are the Heart of the Home
Speaking of the kitchen, make sure it flows. There is nothing worse than not being able to open the refrigerator door all the way because the space is too small or bumping into your significant other when you are both in a rush and you spill cereal all over the floor. Or my favorite awful kitchen experience that happened to me recently, when the oven door doesn’t shut so you have to literally duct tape it closed to cook dinner, talk about needing the landlord to update the appliances.
Updated and clean appliances are very important. An older appliance isn’t the worst thing if it is clean and in good condition. So don’t be afraid to open all the cabinets and drawers to make sure they all function correctly. The better condition the kitchen is in, the less updating you will have to do after moving in.
3. That Awkward Moment When You Find Out the Windows are Painted Shut
When I was a teenager, my parents purchased a home here in Greeley and when we moved in we went to open the windows and realized all of them had been painted shut; like I’m talking 27 coats of thick lead paint over the windows. Apparently, the previous owner hated sunlight and fresh air. It took two weeks and who knows how many cans of paint stripper to strip that paint down enough to even crack the windows open.
So make sure you check out the windows! You want windows that are functional, energy efficient and aren’t broken. Many people don’t look past the coverings until they move in. It is only then that they discover breakage or that they are all painted shut, and that’s a downer.
3. Make Sure the Furnace is Functioning Well
Energy efficiency and proper maintenance apply to the furnace and air conditioning units as well. A well-maintained home and all home systems are most important because you do not want to inherit problems. Furnaces are definitely at the top of the list for important things to take a look at. These can be very expensive and time-consuming to replace. If you aren’t sure about the furnace, ask the landlord or realtor to take a look and give some of their insight.
4. Paint on the Walls
Look past the wall colors. All of that can be easily changed in an afternoon. Every time I move into a new place this is one of the first things I do before getting unpacked and settled. This also applies to window coverings, lighting fixtures, carpet, and floor coverings. You don’t have to love those. Sometimes these items can be used to help negotiate a better price for the home as well.
What is important is to keep an eye open for is cracks in the ceilings, walls, and floors. Look especially close on the outside of the home. These cracks could add up to devastating costs in the long run. This also applies to the roof. Make sure the roof is in newer condition.
5. Garage and Yard Space
Other things to look for when buying a home is the garage and yard. The first thing that was on the needs list for us when we talked about purchasing a home was a garage. It was important to have a space for the cars as well as all of the tools that started to be accumulated in hoards. Also, Colorado Spring weather means hail. Garages are essential to keep your cars safe and sound.
For me, however, it was important to have a yard and room for a garden. Since we knew these were things that we absolutely needed we didn’t have to waste time looking at homes that didn’t have those amenities. In addition, fencing is also important to take a look at. If it’s worn down that may cause issues in the future.
6. Neighbors can Ruin Even the Best Home
Neighborhood and neighbors. Just because you like the neighborhood doesn’t mean you’ll like the neighbors. I have always gotten lucky in this aspect, but loud or creepy neighbors are the worst. Whether you like it or not, once you purchase or rent the home you are a part of the shared neighborhood space. I suggest going to look at a house when you know folks are home. After work and after school is the best time to take a tour with a qualified Ferguson agent.
All in all, house hunting is an exciting experience. You start to piece together the life you can have in the homes you look at. It’s a time for celebration! I mean you have gotten to the point in your life where you are finally ready to start fresh and nothing can stop you! Just keep these tips in mind when you are looking for that perfect place!
Good luck and happy house hunting!