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What to Look for When Buying a House

Are you looking to buy a new home for your family? It’s best to carefully consider the immediate environment as well as the exterior and interior of the house. Inspect the house thoroughly before making any move toward a commitment.

Here are the things to look for:

1. Physical Environment/Vicinity. Is it near your place of work and/or a place you often go to? It should be near the market, schools, hospital, church, shops, and public transport. Parks and recreation centers should be conveniently accessible by foot or bike. Remember to check if there are proposed changes in infrastructure such as new roads or buildings. These changes are often beneficial and desirable, e.g. a new shopping complex, apartment buildings, new schools, etc. but there are instances when new infrastructure can adversely affect a neighborhood.

2. Immediate Neighborhood. Unless you want to open a service shop or a store in front of your home, you would want it to be on a safe distance from any unwanted foot traffic, loiterers, etc. For security reasons, it shouldn’t be right next door to a public bar, a commercial building, a school, a grocery store, a busy road, or a park. Neither should it be too distant from the next door neighbor.

3. Exterior. How does the house look a few meters away? Are there physical hazards nearby such as a leaning pole, tree, or a hazardous installation? Does it look nice or is the paint chipped? If possible, try to view the neighborhood from a window or balcony of the house. Is the view pleasant or do you see anything that would make you feel uncomfortable, e.g. junk piles, dirty neighbors’ yards, etc. Moving down toward the yard or balcony, can neighbors view whatever you’re doing? Check the roof for any missing shingles, the gutters, sprinkler system, the grass, the walks, steps, terraces, pavers, driveway (not too steep nor sloping) and the garage, whether or not it is detached. Check the foundation for any cracks or gaps. Is there proper sewerage? Proper ventilation – will fresh air enter the house freely?

4. Interior. These are a few things to check inside the house:

• Doors/windows – they should open and close smoothly and should be protected from moisture or storms.

• Floors – should be level, not uneven.

• Ceilings – look for signs of water leakage or stains.

• Walls – there should be no cracks on the drywall, no chipping of paint.

• Smoke Detectors – check to see if smoke detectors are installed throughout the house and see if they are battery operated. You will have to replace the batteries regularly and test if the units are working.

• Basement – look for signs of water damage, spotting, color changes, warping of any shelf or furniture at its base.

• Appliances – are they working and energy efficient?

• Mechanical – ask for the maintenance or repair records of the furnace and hot water system.

• Electrical – check the integrity of the wirings. Are all lights and outlets working?

• Faucets – check for water pressure and hot water.

• Tiles – should be clean and not cracked.

• Heating & Air conditioning – check what kind of system is installed and ensure everything is working.

• Kitchen – check cabinets, doors, hinges, painting and floor.

• Countertops – should be neat and clean.

Is the house big enough for your family and can you add more rooms in the future? If there are repair needs, have them completed before signing any purchase contract. Finally, is it the house every member of the family can see themselves living in?

Courtesy of Lending Services Victoria