COMPARING HOMES

Now comes the tough part. You’ve looked at houses, liked some, dismissed others, then this one blossomed in front you. You loved it from the time you pulled up at the curb. You’ve walked through with a big smile on your face.

OK, now step back just a bit. It’s not our job to unsell you on a home you’ve fallen in love with, but it is our job to help you keep it in perspective. If you’ve fallen head over heels for a house, you probably need to look at it even more closely than one you’re simply lukewarm about.
We’re likely to go back to your list of wants and needs and compare them to house you have in front of you. You said you only needed three bedrooms. This one has four. Are you sure? You said you liked the garage at the second home we toured. This garage is a little smaller. Will this one work?

EVALUATING THE HOME EXTERIOR
• Do trees and shrubs appear healthy? Are large trees far enough away from the house?
• Is the lot sloped for proper drainage? Are there low spots?
• Is the outdoor lighting adequate?
• Are sidewalks and driveways in good condition? Where will water drain?
• Is the home’s surface in good repair? Are there cracks where materials meet at two walls or at windows and walls?
• Do foundation walls have cracks larger than 1/4-inch wide?

CONSIDERING THE INTERIOR
• Is the home divided into zones for working, living and sleeping?
• Are eating areas easily accessible from the kitchen?
• Does traffic through the kitchen flow outside the work area?
• Do open appliance doors block doorways, cabinets or each other?
• Do bedrooms have two uninterrupted wall surfaces for easy furniture arrangement?
• Are baths accessible without having to cross a bedroom or other living space?

CONSTRUCTION FROM BASEMENT TO ATTIC
• Do basement walls have large cracks that indicate a shifting foundation? Mildew stains that indicate dampness/flooding? Is an unheated basement’s ceiling insulated?
• Are exposed beams and joists in good condition?
• Is the attic well-insulated?
• Are floors springy or are they even and sturdy?
• Do all doors and windows work smoothly?
• Are bathroom fixtures in good condition? Does the faucet’s water flow remain steady when toilets are flushed?

Again, we are not trying to unsell you on your home – but we do want to make sure you’ll be happy with this home today, next year and for years to come.

HOME TOUR CHECKLIST

Touring homes is exciting, exhausting and it can be confusing trying to remember which homes had which features. By the end of the day, you can’t remember if the house with the fabulous kitchen had three bedrooms or four, or any other pertinent details.

That’s why you need a Home Tour Checklist. The list we’ve provided below is a good starting point that you can use to create your own. It may be surprising to first time home buyers that there are so many considerations, but trust us, this is a simple and short list that covers the primary considerations, not all of them.

Remember, while you need to be aware of every detail in a home you are thinking of buying, you need to keep matters in perspective. While you’re looking at the features you want in a new home, be sure to step back and consider the bigger picture – the permanent attributes – of the house. There may be a many elements in a house that you consider issues, but don’t let a large number of small problems keep you from a house that would otherwise be a perfect fit. Remember, you can change superficial elements like wallpaper, paint color and window treatments, and make minor repairs – just make sure they fit into your overall home buying budget.

Take good notes – while viewing the home, not later – and you’ll be better able to make the right decisions as you move forward in the home-buying process. Keep blank copies of lists handy, don’t lose old ones, and be sure to share them with us.

THE HOME

Square footage ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Number of bedrooms ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Number of baths ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Practicality of floor plan ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Condition of interior walls ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Closet/storage space ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Basement ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Fireplace ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Cable TV ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Basement: dampness/odors ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Exterior appearance/condition ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Lawn/yard space ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Fence ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Patio/deck ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Garage ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Energy efficiency ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Screens/storm windows ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Roof: age, condition ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Gutters/downspouts ____Good ____Average ____Poor

THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Nearby homes/businesses ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Traffic ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Noise level ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Safety/security ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Age mix of inhabitants ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Number of children ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Pet restrictions ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Parking ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Zoning regulations ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Neighborhood restrictions/covenants ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Fire protection ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Police ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Snow removal ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Garbage service ____Good ____Average ____Poor

SCHOOLS

Age/condition ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Reputation ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Quality of teachers ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Achievement test scores ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Play areas ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Curriculum ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Class size ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Busing distance ____Good ____Average ____Poor

CONVENIENCE TO…

Supermarket ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Schools ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Work ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Shopping ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Child care ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Hospitals ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Doctor/dentist ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Recreation/parks ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Church/synagogue ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Airport ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Highways ____Good ____Average ____Poor
Public Transportation ____Good ____Average ____Poor

Other important features:
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor
____________________ ____Good ____Average ____Poor

GET IN TOUCH

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