Handy Checklist for Buyers - Before Making an Offer

It is exciting to finally find the home that checks off all of the “must have” boxes – appearance, size, price, location, amenities, etc. However, before making an offer on any property it is smart to taka a deeper look at the overall structure and its systems. There may be warning signs of major and/or costly problems that are hiding in plain sight. If the house holds more issues than your budget can handle it is best to know now rather than later. Once an offer is accepted, it is always a smart idea to hire a home inspector to take an in depth look at the property but there are things you can see that may give you peace of mind as you make the offer.

  1. Exterior

Walk around the house, scanning it from top to bottom. Note the condition of the doors and window frames, look for cracked or peeling paint, stucco, and siding. Ensure that the chimney looks straight and is in good condition and the gutters and drainpipes should be in place and functioning.

  1. Roof

Best case scenario, the roof is 10 years old or less. Look for classic warning signs of aging and neglect. Things like curled and missing shingles, dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging can mean serious issues.

  1. Yard

Take note of the landscaping. Is there a slope that is angled away from the house or is there a portential for a flooded basement after a major storm? Mature trees provide valuable shade, but watch for overhanging branches, as these can break off in a storm and do major damage to the roof. Look at the driveway and sidewalks for buckling and cracking. Roots of trees can do damage to concrete as well.

  1. Foundation

A few hairline cracks in the cement is not a cause for concern but wide cracks, water stains and bulges can be a sign of trouble.

  1. Plumbing

As well as checking basement and under-sink pipes for signs of leaks, check ceilings for water stains. Open all of the faucets to check the water pressure as well as the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap.

  1. HVAC System

Check the age of the heating and cooling system by checking tags and labels. Check for signs of routine maintenance. If the system is older than a decade, that can spell costly repairs and a replacement in a brief time frame. When it comes to older systems, energy efficiency is another consideration. new HVAC systems work much more efficiently than older ones and can cost much less to run.

  1. Appliances

Note the age and condition of things like the refrigerator, oven and range, washer and dryer and hot water heater. Oldder appliances tend to consume more energy and you will face a shorter timeline for needed repairs and replacements.

Buying a home is a huge decision but knowing what you are buying can go a long way in assuring that you’ve found the right one.