10 Things to Look for When Buying a House

10 Things to Look for When Buying a House​

We want you to succeed! The Orange County real estate may be shifting to a more balanced market, but there are still things that a home buyer must understand to successfully navigate a real estate transaction. Contrary to popular belief, home buyers can get what they want if they know what things to look for when buying a house.

The bottom line is that perspective is key. In fact, a realistic perspective is the difference between putting a home under contract and not finding the home of your dreams. Let's take a look at how we can help you successfully navigate your home buying experience.

Don't Get Caught Up In:

  • Furnishings - Unless for some reason they come with the house. More often than not, furnishings are considered personal property (not included in the sale).

  • Decor - When you step inside your prospective house, focus on things that are structural like aging appliances or loose wires and not fresh paint or upscale decor. The foundation will be there long after the paint has started chipping and the decor has stopped trending.

  • Price ​- Not only do you want to avoid impulse-buying a home, but you want to understand fair market value when negotiating. Together, we help you compare the price to similar homes in the area versus what is available on the market.

Instead, Look For:

  • Street Location - Geographic location is important but location of the house on the street is important, too. You can alter just about anything in a home, but the one thing you can't do is pick up a house you love and move it to a location you like.

  • Window Installation - Take a second to pull back the curtains to check for lopsided frames, and then give the windows a tug to make sure they slide easily. If they stick, it could be a sign of foundation issues, as noted above, or just poor installation.

  • Newer Flooring - Look for gaps or uneven surfaces. It may indicate a DIY job, and make you think twice, especially if the house has been updated or remodeled or flipped. It could also indicate that multiple fixes might have been done on the fly, which can add up to big bucks in potential repair costs.

  • Overall Layout - Aside from the basics, like quality windows and surfaces, think about the purposes for your home and the requirements for your lifestyle (like storage for a large book collection or a big backyard for barbecuing). Are the rooms open like you want them, or would you have to remove walls? Do you need to be smart and spring for an extra bedroom for kids or guests? What do you need to do to make the house into the home you want?

  • Roof Condition - Before you ever set foot inside a home, check out what’s happening on top of the house. Does the roof look relatively new or is it in disrepair? An older roof could end up costing you. A newer roof, on the other hand, could mean a lower homeowners insurance rate.

  • HVAC Units - When walking through a new house, look for signs of neglected routine home maintenance. For example, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning units can be very expensive to replace. An attentive homeowner is going to flush the water heater annually, change air filters monthly, clean the chimney, inspect the roof for leaks, and regularly re-caulk around windows and doors, for example, which will keep all those systems in good working order.

  • Examine Pipes - Has the house been re-piped? In Southern California, slab and pinhole leaks happen all too frequently, and homes need to be re-piped all too often. When you’re poking around a new house, don’t stop at eye level — get underneath the sink and examine those pipes. Check for leaks, water damage, and mold.

The Takeaway

The best advice for a home buyer: look at the bones of a house not the aesthetics. And, you are not in this alone! Instead, you should rely on the professional analysis and advice of a seasoned REALTOR® to help you navigate the process and realign your perspective to what is truly important. That's where we at The Swan Team come in!

If you need help preparing to buy or sell in 2018 – Contact Us Now!

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Cracks in the 6-year housing run show a more balanced market.

If you want to receive real-time Orange County Housing Reports to your inbox every month – for the full/downloadable market reports and charts – Sign Up Now!

The Swan Team | OC Real Estate

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