What Should You Look for on a House Tour?

house tour

Be Alert on Your Next House Tour

House tours can be exciting but overwhelming, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. You need to have a good idea of the features you do and do not want. Regardless of your home preference, here are the things you should look for, as well as elements you can ignore.

What Not to Look For on a House Tour

Before we jump into the most important aspects of a house, here are the top things you don't need to waste your time worrying about:

Furniture and Decor

Some homes you tour may be empty, while others will be staged or full of the owner's belongings. If you aren't interested in their art deco style, don't stress it. Remember that those elements are not permanent, and you're only buying the house, not the belongings inside. Focus more on the layout and room sizes rather than the items inside them. 

Bathroom and Kitchen Design

As home buyers seek more modern styles, it can be hard to ignore outdated design work, especially in the bathrooms and kitchen where remodeling is often overlooked. However, before you disregard a home with démodé style, take a minute to think about it. If the rest of the house is just what you want, then could you settle for gaudy tile backsplash? Remember that you can always upgrade these elements later, and they shouldn't deter you from purchasing a home. Additionally, renovations can increase the home's value when you're ready to sell it. 

homehunt.blog.post-look-for-on-house-tour-1.700x400Fixtures and Hardware

Small, worn-out elements, like cabinet knobs, hinges, ceiling fans, and microwaves, can leave a bad impression, but remember, these are only cosmetic issues. Small features are easy to replace and don't cost much. Additionally, some sellers are aware that their home's features are outdated and may even consider that when pricing a home. So, don't fret about the little things. 

Absence of Fencing

If you have children or pets, you may be solely interested in homes with a fence. But, before you cross that house off your list, see if there is space for a fence. Fencing can always be done later and isn't too pricey. Some areas need permits for fencing, so check with your HOA for permit requirements, as well as height and setback restrictions.

What to Look For on a House Tour

Now that you know what features aren't the ‘end all be all,’ let's look at the most essential elements to keep an eye (and nose) out for.

Strong Odors

Though it's normal for vacant houses to have a stale odor, mildew, or moldy smells are red flags. Also, keep your nose out for musty odors and the smell of wet socks as these could be an indication of mold or water damage. 

If you enter a home and are hit with the smell of cigarettes or wet dogs, this could mean that the walls and carpet are soaked with odor. The odors can dissipate, but be aware of the risk. If you love the house, be ready to replace the carpeting and wallpaper. 

Check the window panes and door frames for black spots if you suspect mold but aren't sure. This is commonplace for mold and usually suggests poor sealing or framing. 

Structural Conditions

Always check the walls and floors for cracks, warps, and watermarks. Small vertical cracks less than 1/8 of an inch are typically harmless. On the flip side, long wide cracks that run horizontal or diagonal are more concerning and could indicate foundational issues or water damage. If you find a spot on the floor with bounce or give, this could mean rotting wood, termites, or even shoddy construction. 

homehunt.blog.post-look-for-on-house-tour-2.700x400Appliances and Integrated Systems

While unsightly microwaves and fridges can be replaced later, HVAC, electric, plumbing, cooling, and heating elements should be inspected for safety reasons. For example, visible or corroded wiring is hazardous and could be a cause for concern. Also, warm, vibrating outlets and flickering lights could indicate electrical wiring issues. Always test the faucets for running water, and if the water is brown, the pipes may be rusted and need replacing. 

Unpermitted Additions to the Home

If you show up to a house that listed only two bathrooms and you find a third, you might be happily surprised. However, you want to make sure that this addition was permitted and constructed properly. If you purchase a home with an unpermitted addition, you could be fined by the city or face structural risks.

While house touring, it's important to take your time reviewing your options; you don't want to jump into a sale with hidden hazards. Take notes, pictures, and don't be afraid to ask the agent pertinent questions. To get started on your home hunting journey, contact HomeHunt today!

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