If you’re searching for a new home in San Diego, you might see five homes or fifteen before you find “the one”. While it’s important to consider whether you like the home or not, there are other things you should consider as well. Here are 18 things you should evaluate before moving forward with the purchase:
How’s The Neighborhood?
When you buy, you’re not just getting a house. You’re buying the neighborhood, too. Make sure it’s somewhere you can see yourself living. You should also check if the house you’re touring is the best house on the block…which could be a problem when you go to sell it.
How Many Homes Are For Sale on the Same Street?
Neighborhoods turn over all the time, but if there’s a sign in almost every front yard, it could mean there’s something wrong with this location.
What’s the Parking Situation?
This isn’t such a big deal if you’re buying in a suburban area, but you’re looking to live in an urban area or near the beach, you’ll want to check out the parking situation. Does the home or condo have its own dedicated parking spaces? If so, where are they in relation to the property? If there’s a garage, will your car(s) actually fit in it? How about the driveway? Is it long enough or wide enough to accommodate your vehicles?
Are There Exterior Signs of Neglect?
When you walk up to the home, pay attention to its curb appeal. Are there weeds? Cracks in the driveway or walkways? Is the paint peeling? If the home shows exterior signs of neglect, chances are the home as a whole hasn’t been well cared-for. Most problems will be uncovered during the home inspection, but the home might have up-front maintenance issues after you move in.
Is the Roof in Good Condition?
Roofs can be pricey to repair or replace. And if the roof isn’t in good condition, there could be water damage or rot underneath. Ask your agent about the age of the roof and take note of any missing shingles or tiles.
Is the Lot Level or Steep?
When viewing a home, you should also be thinking about what you might like to do with your property in the future. A level lot will afford you the most options for the least amount of money. A steeper lot might take some creative engineering (and a lot of cash) to make your dreams a reality.
How’s the Layout?
Once you get inside the home, you should take note of the floorplan of the home. Does it flow naturally from one space to the next? Or does it feel choppy and awkward? The latter might not necessarily be a dealbreaker, but you should always have the property’s resale value in the back of your mind.
Does the Home Receive Adequate Natural Light?
If you can, view the property at different times of the day and note how much light comes in. You can combat poor natural lighting with artificial lamps, but your energy bills will likely go up as a result.
You should also consider the home’s orientation. In the summer, any rooms that face west will be warmer than the rest of the house. If the home doesn’t have A/C, those rooms might be too hot to use. That could be a problem if they are ones you plan to spend a lot of time in – like the living room, home office, or kitchen.
What’s the Condition of the Appliances?
You can ask your agent to find out the age of the appliances in the home, but you should also inspect them yourself for signs of aging. Look out for rust, mold, or other evidence of neglect. If the appliances in the home you’re considering buying are older, you’ll probably need to budget to replace them in the next couple of years.
Are There Interior Signs of Neglect?
It’s easy to tell at a glance if a home has been well-cared for. Is the paint peeling or discolored? Are the baseboards scuffed? Is there a layer of dust in the corners of the room? Any unidentifiable stains on the floor? Yes, these are all superficial issues, but there are likely other, deeper problems hiding beneath the surface.
Does the Home Have a Musty or Odd Smell?
If the home smells damp or musty, there could be mold somewhere. If the home smells like pets or smoke, you’ll likely need to replace the carpet and flooring to get rid of it.
Do the Doors or Windows Stick? Are There Cracks Around the Windowsill?
Unless the sellers have explicitly designated an area as off-limits, don’t be shy about opening and closing the doors and windows. Sticking can be a sign of poor installation or foundation issues. Either one presents a costly problem to fix. You should also look for visible cracks around the windows. This can indicate that the home has foundation problems.
Is There Ample Closet Space?
Make sure you check out the closet space in the home. Even a small house will feel spacious if there’s enough room to store your things.
How Are the Pipes?
Plumbing is such an integral part of the house that it can be costly to repair. Discretely check under the sinks and around the showerheads and toilets. Is there any discoloration or spots of mold? These could be signs of a leak. You should also turn on the water and flush the toilet to check the water pressure. Poor water pressure could indicate a plumbing problem.
What’s the Privacy Like?
While you’re looking at the home itself, don’t forget to look out the windows. Can the neighbors see straight into your bedroom or bathroom? You may be able to build a higher fence or add hedges, but you’ll have to budget for these modifications and live with the situation until the work is done.
How’s the Noise Level Inside the Home?
Make sure you use your ears when viewing a home. Can you hear the road? The neighbor’s dog? The playground nearby? You may think you can live with the noise…but it also might drive you crazy after moving in.
Is There Water Damage on the Ceiling?
Don’t forget to look up as you walk through the home. Stains or discoloration on the ceiling could be a sign that the roof leaks. If this issue has been going on for awhile, the repairs could be costly.
How Much Maintenance Will the Yard Require?
Everyone wants a big, grassy backyard until they realize how much time and energy is required to keep the grass green and neatly trimmed. Same with a pool. If you don’t see yourself spending a lot of time enjoying that pool or patch of grass, you’ll probably like taking care of it even less.
If you’re ready to start touring homes in San Diego or have found “the one”, I would love to represent you!