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What To Look For During a Viewing

Buying a home is an exciting and detailed process. Itís easy to get lost in the details, or overwhelmed by everything youíre seeing during a viewing. You can get distracted by everything you like about a home that is for sale, and forget to ask important questions. There are a few things you need to look out for during the viewing so you can avoid costly repairs or a poor buying decision. If youíre having trouble remembering all the details of the home-buying process, print out this list and take it with you to viewings.

1. Measure your major furniture before you go. When you get to the property, measure the room sizes to make sure your furniture will fit properly. While it might seem like a small detail, imagine what moving day will be like if you canít get your bed or sofa into the right rooms.

2. Check out the exterior thoroughly before you go inside. Is the siding yellowing? Is the gutter full of miniature trees? Is the roof missing tiles? Are there lines of rust or hard water stains on the exterior of the home that indicate leaking gutters? Look for any scary-looking cracks in the foundation. Check out the yard - are there low spots that are collecting water near the home? That could cause drainage issues.

3. Look for signs of underlying water damage once you get inside. Is there a musty or damp smell? Do you see any mold, bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, or soft wood? Soft wood around doors and windows indicates rot.

4. Walk all the floors slowly. Do they squeak or show signs of unevenness? Those could be signs of rotting floorboards or other repairs youíll need to make in the future. If there is carpet, does it smell badly, indicating pet stains?

5. Measure all the storage spaces, including the closets, garage, basement, and attic. Will this be enough storage for the things you own? Can you easily install shelving or other storage accessories in the existing storage space?

6. Look for the outlets around the home. Are there enough, and are they in the right locations for your needs? Do they look old, indicating an electrical system that might need updating?

7. Open the taps to check the water pressure. Listen for banging in the piping systems. Do the faucets drip after you turn off the water? In an old home, find out if the pipes are lead - those will need to be replaced.

8. How is the home heated and cooled? If there is a central air unit, look it over when youíre outside. Check out the heating unit, as well- is it old and rusty? Some older homes or those in more rural areas might be oil heated. When was the last time the tank was filled? What is the average cost to fill it?

9. Does the general layout suit your needs? For example, is the master bedroom on a separate floor from the other bedrooms, and will that work for your family? Are there stairs that some family members might have trouble negotiating?

10. Check for signs of dangerous settling throughout the home. Are there cracks in the walls or ceilings, or around doors or windows? Do you have trouble opening doors or windows because they stick? These could be signs of expensive foundational issues.