Searching for a new house can be an exciting experience, especially if you happen to be a first-time homebuyer. Of course, along with that excitement, chances are you may be feeling at least a twinge of trepidation. That’s because a house is likely the largest, most expensive thing you’ve ever shopped for, and you want to ensure that you make the best choice for yourself and your family.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 4 questions to consider when shopping around for your first house
Is Something Hiding in the Basement?
Check the basement for signs of moisture staining and floor cracks, even if it means peeking behind a couch shoved up against a wall (bring a small flashlight for this purpose), or under an area rug. If there’s a cold storage room, open it up and give it a sniff test. If you detect a moldy smell, you’ll want to ask a few questions.
Does the Décor Come with the Home?
Sorry, but the answer is most likely no. So, don’t be romanced by a home’s décor, because it has been arranged sweep you off of your feet with its good looks and charm. That is the entire point in having a home professionally staged. Even one of HGTV’s famous Fixer Uppers wouldn’t be the same without extensive staging.
Look past the perfectly arranged furniture and tastefully neutral décor and pay attention to things like room sizes, the condition of the roof, ago of the HVAC system, and other essential details.
Is the House Child-Friendly?
Or, do you plan to have children in the near future? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, keep the little ones in mind when house hunting. This means looking for things like carpeted stairs (so much safer for new toddlers), good site lines from the kitchen, backyard access (access from the basement only is terrible when small kids are in the home, trust us!), and stairs that will easily accept a baby gate (or 4).
What is the Neighbourhood REALLY like?
For a lot of people, house visits happen on the weekend. Whether you’re attending open houses or making planned visits with a realtor, your timing might not be painting an accurate picture of street traffic and neighbourhood activity. Before adding a house to your shortlist, be sure to visit the neighbourhood during a few prime business times. You might discover that it gets extra busy during rush hour or that Friday nights turn into party central next door.
Those off-peak visits may be distorting another factor you’ll want to keep in mind before purchases your first house, and that’s accurate commuting time. Whether you’re a highway driver or plan to take transit, that sunny, summer weekend morning open house is not painting an accurate picture of what your real life, daily commute will be like. You’ll definitely want to ask around to get a more accurate picture before making your decision.