Questions you should ask to make a great home purchase

What to look for in a house walkthrough?

Location – It’s been said so many times before that I feel that I probably wouldn’t even have to repeat this, but I am repeating it because it’s so true. Location is the number one thing that will determine a home’s value, how much it will increase in value in the years ahead, and how much potential there is to increase the value of the home via a home renovation. 

What is a good location?  A few of the biggest factors that determine how good a location is, are the following:

  1. School District – especially when selling a home that will appeal to families.
  2. Taxes – typically an area with really high taxes will see lower home values because people are putting more of their housing budget towards paying property taxes.

Despite what I say above, there can be really good home options even in areas with higher taxes and not as great school districts if the area has things that will appeal to buyers who aren’t as interested in these things.  A lot of your downtown city homes can have high taxes but still be in a great location because so many people want to experience this type of downtown city lifestyle.  The bottom line is that for an area to be good it needs to have something that is making the area highly desirable. if you can find an area with these factors you are on a good way to nailing down a great location!

What to look for in a house inspection?

Curb Appeal – This is really just a different take on location – besides considering where a home is located geographically, it’s also important to consider how the home is placed in the neighborhood and what your general impression is when you pull up to the home. Keep in mind that sometimes you need to look past what a home looks like presently to what it could be in the future. However, some of the things I would stay away from are homes with really weird architecture. I’m talking about that house that has an addition that looks twice as big as the original house. Or the house sitting right up against a commercial gas station or car dealership.

What to look for in a house showing?

If you find a house in a great location with the potential for great curb appeal you still need to inspect the actual home.  The three things that I look at first when determining the condition of a home are the following:

  1. The roof – this is the most important area of a home to preserve it from the elements of the weather.  I look for staining, fading, or worn areas to determine how long a roof has been in use.  Generally, a rubber roof with good seams has about a 50-year lifespan. An asphalt shingle roof can have a 25-30 year life span depending on the grade of the shingles. Metal roofs or slate roofs can have life spans of 50+ years if maintained properly.
  2. The heating and/or cooling equipment – one of the best ways to determine the grade of an HVAC unit is to look at whether it’s a high-efficiency unit or not.  High-efficiency gas and oil boilers and forced air heaters will have PVC vent pipes.  Lower efficiency systems will have metal piping venting the system to a chimney.  Units that are rusty around the bottom tend to indicate that they are towards the end of their lifespan.
  3. Windows – older windows tend to leak a lot of air and really increase your heating and cooling expenses. Also, the windows on many older homes (built before 1978) have lead-based paint on their frames and so if they haven’t been replaced can be a hazard. When looking at an older home windows with vinyl frames are probably replacement windows. Higher quality windows tend to have double latches on them which will help the window seal more tightly when it is closed.

So when shopping for a home I start with investigating the neighborhood and then determining whether the home has the potential to have great curb appeal. If both of these things pass the test I investigate the home starting with looking at the roof, HVAC system, and windows.

There is a lot more than this that goes into making a great home purchase so we always recommend hiring a buyer’s agent to be your guide. A buyer’s agent is almost always free of charge to you as the buyer and gives you access to any home that is listed on the market through a realtor. How soon are you going to get your search started?


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