Seven Things to Look for When Buying a Home
Buying a new home is an exciting time! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the thrill of the search for the perfect home. But before you start hitting open houses, there are a few important things to consider. Knowing what to look for can make all the difference between finding your dream home and a purchase full of regrets. Here are our top seven things look for when buying a home to ensure that you’ll be happy in your new home for years to come.
Start with a New Home Checklist
Before you even begin shopping, start by making a list of what’s important to you. Create a new home checklist that includes must-haves, wants, and wishes and keep it handy so you stay focused. It’s easy to be swayed by pretty finishes or nice landscaping, but if you sacrifice your needs for a wish-list item, your home won’t function the way you need it to.
Location, Location, Location
There are a lot of things you can change about a home after you own it, but the location is NOT one of them! And if you hate the commute or wish you couldn’t hear the highway, you may never truly love your home. Take the time to research neighbourhoods and determine which ones meet your criteria before you start shopping.
Look at schools, transit options, and available amenities to be sure you won’t have to travel too far to meet your basic needs. Other things to consider are the length of your commute, parks in the neighbourhood, crime rates, recurring noise in the area, and future development potential.
Utilities in the Area
When it comes to utilities and city services, not all neighbourhoods are created equal. If you are buying a home in the city, you’ll likely have reliable water and electrical systems plus a variety of options for utilities such as cable, internet, and heat. But as you move further away from the heart of the city, those options can become limited. Talk to the previous owners or others who live in the area to make sure your new home will have the services you need. If you work from home but don’t have access to high-speed internet, that could be a big problem.
Always Get an Inspection when Buying a New Home
It should be a given, but sometimes the excitement of buying a new home can cause buyers to overlook the big-ticket items. Always have the home you plan to purchase inspected by a qualified professional. Problems with the foundation, roof, windows, electrical, plumbing, heating or ventilation systems could leave you with very costly repairs.
Some early warning signs of structural damage include doors and windows that stick, cracks extending from door or window frames, and sloping floors. Other things to watch out for are unpleasant odors (especially mold), flickering lights, slow draining water, and water stains. But a host of potential problems you can’t see could be lurking behind the walls. An inspection by a certified home inspector could save you from buying a home with major issues.
Watch Out for DIY Work
Unless the home you’re buying was owned by a qualified tradesperson, you should be wary of any repairs or renovations that appear to be do-it-yourself in nature. Small tasks like painting and replacing the trim are typical jobs a homeowner will complete before selling a house. But DIY construction, plumbing, or electrical work is a definite red flag.
Any project that involves the structure or major systems of the home or should be done by a licensed professional. And most major repairs require permits to ensure the work is done correctly. Renovations that are done without a permit could result in hefty fines, which you could be liable for even if you weren’t the homeowner at the time.
Consider the Long-Term Potential
Buying a house will likely be one of the biggest purchases you make in your lifetime. To make the most of your investment you should plan to keep the home for a minimum of five years. And when you consider all the costs that go along with buying and selling a house, it may be safer to aim for an even longer turn-around time.
When shopping for your new home, don’t just think about what you need now, but consider how you may want to use the home in the future. Will your family grow? Could you possibly need space for an elderly parent? If it were necessary, would it be possible to work from home? Even though you may not need any of these things now, it’s a lot easier to adapt your current home than it is to move in times of change or crisis.
A Knowledgeable Ottawa Realtor® Can Help
There’s a lot think about when buying a new home. Sometimes the excitement of making such a big step can cause you to lose sight of the little details. Don’t let pretty furniture and a fresh coat of paint distract you from the things that really matter. Our team of Ottawa real estate agents is ready to guide you through the process and ensure you know exactly what to look for when buying a new home.