You may have been there before, or maybe you are a first time home buyer. Either way, you are about to call your real estate agent and ask them to show you some homes that you are interested in. Now the real fun begins!
It is easy to be impressed by the shiny new kitchen, or the large bedrooms, or the amazing backyard, but what should you really be looking at? A good real estate agent can help you look past these home features (they are important as well) and help you to assess the structure and systems of the home.
The top 5 things you should be looking at when you are viewing homes with your real estate agent are:
Plumbing and Electrical
There are three kinds of plumbing types depending on the age of the home that are commonly used in homes in Ontario and there are different factors to consider with each. The bottom line is that you want to know what kind of plumbing is in the home: Copper, PEX or Poly Butelene (sometimes called Poly B). Your agent will be able to help you identify these types and direct you as to what this means for you as a homeowner and when a plumber might need to get involved.
You should also be looking to find out the size of the electrical panel and if the bathroom, kitchen and outdoor outlets are GFCI protected. There may be other questions that are better directed to an electrician, but these are a good starting point.
The HVAC system is the heating and cooling system in a home and it is an expensive system to replace. It is prudent to take note of the age and efficiency of the system. Sometimes you will be able to see the service history on the systems, and it is also possible to get a history of the cost of the heating and hydro, which can help understand the costs to maintain a comfortable home climate. It is also a good idea to consider the size of the unit and its ability to heat or cool the home. If you decide to proceed with a home, some of these questions can be answered by the home inspector or HVAC technician.
One of the first questions to ask when you are considering a home is, “What is the age of the roof?”. A visual inspection is also very helpful. Are there any loose shingles? What shape are the gutters and downspouts in, and where does the water flow? These are all things that you should be looking for with your real estate agent.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors can develop cracks and gaps, especially if they are older. Not only can gaps lead to drafts and added costs to heat your home in the winter months, but they can also lead to water penetrating into the house and result in much greater problems. It is good to carefully look at all the exterior doors, and windows. If you are able to, look at the windows from the inside and the outside.
A visual inspection of the foundation is a very good way to determine if there may be issues that need to be addressed. Your agent should be able to help you identify any cracks or potential areas of water damage. You should walk the perimeter of the home, inside and outside, check the windows and doors to make sure they open and close properly and inspect the crawl space.
When All is Said and Done
In all circumstances, a full home inspection, performed by a licensed professional, is recommended. In today’s current hot sellers market, your agent can help you determine how to get the professional inspection you need, and still make your offer to purchase as competitive as possible. It is also worth remembering that no home is going to be perfect, and there will always be some flaws to find. Your agent should be able to help you decipher which flaws are of most concern and guide you on how to address each one. Some concerns may be easily addressed, while others may be more expensive and require professional help. Always make sure you work with an agent that will look out for your best interests, and who is someone that you can trust with such an important purchase!
Here at LIFE Reg, we work with our clients to ensure they find the best home for them, and are protected and informed through their home buying journey. To find out more contact us today. lifereg.ca/about/