What to look for on your home tour - Movement Mortgage Blog

When prospective homebuyers discover something special during their home tour, they can immediately want to place an offer.

“People get caught up on falling in love with a certain feature,” Sarah Romesburg, a Keller Williams real estate agent, explains. Oftentimes, homebuyers get so excited about something in the house that they forget to look for costly issues.

Be wary of allowing one aspect of the home to blind you to problems — like letting the beautifully landscaped yard distract you from the leaking roof. Make sure you assess prospective houses thoroughly during home tours so you can prevent rash decisions. In order to make a sound investment, evaluate these seven aspects of the house during your tour before deciding whether it will make a good home.

1) Are you sure “Green Acres” is the place to be?

Location matters, so beware of convincing yourself otherwise when you’re tempted to overlook what you need nearby. Evaluate the house’s location. Are you close to downtown, the suburbs or the countryside — and is that where you truly want to be? If you experience severe FOMO (“fear of missing out”), the countryside, with its seclusion from other people and distance from entertaining amenities, may only make you miserable. Similarly, if you love the outdoors, you may not want to buy a house in the heart of downtown.

2) Beware of living next to an eyesore

Romesburg advises buyers to appraise the neighborhood in addition to the setting of the home. In other words, check the quality of the neighborhood before deciding to buy. Have the residents of the neighborhood taken good care of their houses? Is the house located near things, such as noisy roads, that may lower resale value? Assess the entire neighborhood before deciding to buy so you know whether the house has high resale potential.

3) All systems go?

Look at anything in the house that will cost money to fix: appliances, flooring, landscaping, roof and HVAC systems are good examples. Are they in good shape, or will you get stuck with an unexpected expense upon move-in? If you aren’t sure how to spot a potential issue, Romesburg advises simply looking for aesthetic problems.

Spotting chips, cracks and chinks now saves you money later, so take time to really look at the state of the structure, systems and scenery. The current owner may even fix significant issues before you purchase the house if you catch them early. While easy-to-change aspects, like paint color, should not affect your choice to buy, BIG issues should.

4) It’s raining, it’s pouring

Water damage causes significant problems, such as mold and leaky roofs, although the damage often appears minimal at first glance. If you see signs of water damage during your home tour, talk to your real estate agent and contractor before purchasing the house. Hopefully, if you catch issues early, you won’t have to pay for costly renovations.

5) Do the smell test

If you smell anything out of the ordinary while touring a house, see what caused the odor. This is an easy way for people with allergies to determine whether previous owners smoked or had indoor pets. The sniff test also highlights whether smell-trapping aspects of the house, such as carpet, need updating.

Strong smells, however, aren’t always bad. Some smells, like those of fresh paint, suggest recent renovations.

6) Use your green thumb

As a sun-loving gardener, you obviously know most flowers don’t grow well indoors. Before purchasing a home, see if the backyard offers enough space for your flower boxes or a small garden. And, if your family likes to spend time outside, you’ll want to look for an inviting backyard during your home tour.

7) Make space for Scooby, Lassie and Pluto

Your four-legged family members need space to frolic, so check for a fence. If the house doesn’t have one, consider the cost of adding one in the future. Adding fences is expensive, Romesburg says, and although your family may not need a fence now, there may be a time when you’ll need one — like if you add pets or kids to the picture.

Don’t be fooled. Resale value matters. Think long-term when you tour a prospective house, Romesburg says, and you’ll be just fine.

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About the Author:

Adam O'Daniel

Adam O'Daniel is Movement's Communications Director. He leads corporate communication and public relations efforts across the organization. Email him at adam.odaniel@movement.com.