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Thinking About Buying a Home? Check These 4 Things First!

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HellaWella
02.06.13

This post originally appeared on HellaWella, which takes the stuffiness out of the healthy lifestyle culture, and gives people tips on living healthy in the real world.

Buying a home can be a scary undertaking. There’s a lot to think about: Can you afford it? Is it in the right neighborhood? Does it have enough space for your family? Those are big questions. Sometimes, though, small questions can become big questions if you don’t ask them right away.

While a home inspector will check these items for you, you can do a preliminary inspection yourself before you even make an offer on a home. Feeling secure about these important components will make you feel more secure about entering negotiations. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

Check faucets, toilets and drains

Although all of these items can be repaired, costs can add up if faucets aren’t running well (check the water pressure in the showers!) or toilets aren’t flushing strongly enough. And test how the drains are working when more than one drain is working at a time. This could indicate whether there’s a backup in the pipes somewhere.

Check the history of the home

Ask the sellers whether there’s been any major damage to the home. This may reveal problems with flooding in the area or an electrical issue that isn’t noticeable during a walk-through. In addition, ask for records of home improvements. Looking at the cost of the project and researching what such a redo would usually cost may reveal if lower-end materials were used, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Check for moisture

A major concern for any homeowner, especially in a home with a basement, is mold. Pull the carpets back and check for mildew, and inspect the basement walls for signs of dampness. 

Check the electrical panel and HVAC system

If the electrical panel is well-labeled and there are no signs of loose wires, you can feel more comfortable about the quality of the home’s electrical system. Make sure to turn the heat and air conditioning on and off, and observe whether the temperature feels accurate or not. Also, ask for a copy of the utility bills to see what heating or cooling the home will likely cost.

Check the roof

The roof isn't the most convenient place to check, but it's still important! If you can get up there (safely, of course), look for things like holes or gaps, loose shingles and damaged caulking. For more details on things to check, read: Inspect Your Roof.  

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