When you’re purchasing a home for the first time, it can seem like a very daunting process. That’s why we’ve provided this comprehensive, 7-point checklist to help guide you, so you can feel good about your purchase. (During this time of Covid-19, most of these things may be done remotely, while others may be easier when you can tour a home in person, depending on the property.)
- Make your wish list.
First, sit down with your significant other or whomever will be sharing the new home with you. Go over which features in a new home are priorities for you. Create a “Need” and “Want” list. For example, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, architectural style, swimming pool, must-have garage, etc.—should go in one column. In another column, put the things you’re willing to compromise on. For example, if you find the home of your dreams, but it doesn’t have a garage, are you willing to do without that? When you begin your search, you’ll be on the same page about what you want.
- Know your budget.
Have a range, but know what your maximum number is and stick to it. Sometimes when you’re looking at homes, it’s easy to be persuaded into thinking you can make various changes here and there. But remember, anything you change, depending on how major, will affect your budget. Extensive remodeling isn’t something a first-time home buyer will want to take on unless the price of the home is way under budget.
- Check structure and foundation.
You’ve found the perfect home. Next comes the hard part. Look for possible issues. Of course you don’t want to find any, and there may be nothing to concern you. But do check for things that could cost you later. Check the breaker box. Check the water pressure in the faucets. Check the walls. Does it look like something has been covered up with paint? A couple of home buyers once scooted an area rug out of the way and found crumbling floor tiles! So don’t be embarrassed to investigate. Bring a golf ball or tennis ball and roll it along the floor. Is there any slope? Are there any strange cracks in the walls or foundation? Horizontal cracks are a bigger concern than vertical ones. They appear as a result of water pressure from outside and soil shifting, and could cause the foundation to fail. Buying a home is a big investment, so it’s okay to ask questions. A good realtor will encourage you to do so.
- Examine the roof.
You want to make sure the roof is made of quality, durable materials, able to withstand rough New England winters. Asphalt shingles, the most popular type of roof, can last at least 15 years, and some up to 40 years. Metal roofs have the longest lifespan, at least 30 to 50 years. When buying a home, ask when the roof was last replaced. If it’s going to need to be replaced soon, be sure to factor that into your budget.
- Ask if you have septic or sewer.
If you buy a home and eventually plan to add more bedrooms, be aware of whether or not you have a septic system or sewer. A septic system binds you to a certain number of bedrooms, and you won’t be able to add any more. With a sewer system, there are no restrictions on the number of bedrooms you can have.
- Check the trees.
Nice curb appeal is as important as the inside, and a home framed by trees can look very inviting. Be sure you’re happy with the number and types of trees on the property. Good, sturdy oaks are excellent for withstanding unpredictable storms with high winds. Pne and birch don’t do as well with gusty winds. You may also prefer the trees to be a certain distance away from the home to let in more sunlight. This will save on your heating bills. New home buyers may not know that the cost to remove a tree can be very expensive. So this may be a point of negotiation with the seller.
- Visit the property day and night.
It’s always good to see the home you’re planning to buy at different times of day to check the neighborhood and surrounding area. If everything is quiet during the day, is it different at night? If you’re moving to a new town, find out about local taxes, ask about the schools, and drive around to see the proximity to stores and health care facilities. And last but not least, find out about building permits and zoning restrictions if you have plans to build an addition or separate structure on the property.
MB Homes New England has been proudly offering professional Real Estate services and investment management property services for home buyers, sellers, and investors in Webster, MA, Dudley, MA, Douglas, MA, Auburn, MA, Oxford, MA, Thompson, CT, Pomfret, CT, Woodstock, CT, and Putnam, CT since 2010.
If you have any real estate related questions, or would like to further explore our vast array of services, please contact us today.