10 Things to Consider When Viewing a Property
Buying a home is a big decision—no matter if it’s your first, fifth or tenth time. As you’re probably aware, there’s a lot to consider (which is probably why you’ve hired a Realtor®—well done, you). As you visit potential properties, here are ten questions we recommend asking while onsite.
1. Do you have the right people with you?
Yes, we’re going to insert ourselves here at the start! If at all possible, it’s important to have your Realtor® with you. As your advocate, they’ll be able to answer a lot of your questions, be the go-between with the seller’s agent, and give their professional advice on whether the property is a good fit for you. Plus, with every viewing, they’ll gain more insight into what you like and dislike for future viewings.
Second, if you have a spouse or partner who you are buying with, it’s ideal that you attend all viewings together. As quickly as properties move on and off the market, attending together will allow you to weigh pros and cons together, eliminate the non-options, and keep the process moving if you are interested in a specific property.
If you’re not buying with a partner or spouse, you may consider bringing a close friend or family member as support. Ideally, this person is someone who knows you and your interests well. They can act as another sounding board along with your Realtor®.
2. Are there good bones?
No place is perfect, but you’ll definitely want to make sure any potential property meets your most basic criteria. Think: a floor plan that you like, plenty of light, good electrical wiring and plumbing, a solid roof and gutters. Your Realtor® will be able to help field your questions and should have great insight that you can lean on as you take things into consideration.
3. Are there any staging tricks?
Remember: A lot of effort goes into making properties as appealing as possible to buyers. Strategic lighting, inviting smells, crackling fires, cleverly placed mirrors, and even smaller furniture are all used to create the biggest, coziest, vibiest, most ideal space possible. As you envision your potential future life in this place, just be aware that sellers are engaging all of your senses to sweep you off your feet. Try to look past the staging and imagine this as your home.
4. What will need to be upgraded in the next five years?
How old is the roof? Is the plumbing in working order? When were the heating and cooling systems last replaced? As you make this major financial decision, also consider what money may *potentially* need to be spent in the next five years as upkeep continues. A thorough inspection will be key to catching these repairs, and a Realtor® will be able to help you consider any possible updates.
5. How’s the neighborhood?
If you visit the property during the day, make sure to go back at night. It’s important to know how a property and neighborhood feel and act after dark. As you cruise around, take note if there are more than a few homes for sale on your street or surrounding streets. Take into consideration how close you are to stores, gas stations, parks, etc. Make sure the area fits your needs for the life you want to live.
6. Are there signs of deferred property maintenance?
Things to keep your eyes peeled for include big cracks, foundation issues, signs of damp windows, and dirty chimneys. Your real estate agent will certainly have a trained eye to spot these things, but go in ready to watch for them yourself as well.
7. What comes with the property?
Don’t fall in love with all the features of the home and assume it all stays. Fixtures like faucets and built-in closets are likely to be left behind by the previous owner, but appliances, lighting fixtures, outdoor sheds and play structures are not always a given.
8. Which way does the house face?
If you’re visiting on a cloudy day or at night, it may not be obvious what direction the house or yard faces or what the natural light is like in every room throughout the day. If the home is a true potential buy for you, be sure to make a few visits at different times of day—early morning, mid-day and late afternoon, for example. Also, don’t be afraid to bring and use a compass (most smart phones come with a built-in app).
9. Are the rooms big enough for your needs?
Many people buy a new home because their family is expanding, they want extra space for a home office or entertaining, or they’re ready to downsize. Whatever your reason may be, it’s important to look beyond the first impression and consider if the space will truly meet your needs. Additionally, will your current furniture fit? You can always make a list of the furniture you plan to move into the space (with measurements) and bring a tape measure to plan out potential layouts for your biggest items.
10. Have there been any major renovations?
This is an important question to ask when viewing a property because additions aren’t always reflected in the home’s official records. If additions have been made, ask about the contractor who did the work to weed out homeowners who diy-ed a new bedroom on the back of the house. We’ve seen time and again: it’s best to be cautious about any major work done by a homeowner who is not a licensed contractor.
We’re Here to Help
As a non-exhaustive list of important things to consider when visiting and viewing properties, we hope these ten questions have been helpful. The members of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors® are here to fill in the gaps and provide the insight you need to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. We’re proud to be your property-viewing partner today and always. Need help finding the right Realtor®? Click here to visit our website and get started.