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17 Questions To Ask When Touring a House

Aug 5, 2022

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17 Questions To Ask When Touring a House

You've decided to take the plunge into home ownership! Now comes the fun part - touring prospective homes and finding one that will be just right for you. 

As much as fun as it can be exploring new neighborhoods and considering the merits of modern kitchens and open floor plans, the home tour is something you should approach critically. Remember that purchasing a home is probably the single largest investment you'll ever make. You don't want your enthusiasm to get the better of you by overlooking critical features.

When you tour a house, ask yourself the following questions about each of these aspects of the house.

LOCATION AND NEIGHBORHOOD

Unless you're already familiar with the area you're planning to move to, the photos in online home listings won't tell you much about the location and the neighborhood. So, visit in person if you can. If you're moving from out of town, study maps and ask around to see if anyone knows the area. You'll also want to check out the neighborhood. When you do, here are some questions to ask yourself. 

  • How noisy is the area? If you prefer a quiet street, you probably don't want to live too close to an interstate.
  • How much do you plan to entertain? A busy thoroughfare that doesn't allow for much street parking might not be the best option for you.
  • How close is the neighborhood to places you'll often go, like the grocery store? If you have children, consider where they'll go to school based on the location of the house. 

LAYOUT AND SPACE                       

As you tour a home, think about the flow of the layout and your lifestyle. 

  • Does an open floorplan suit your desire to have guests over frequently?
  • Or, does your work-from-home family need more clearly defined spaces?
  • Are there enough rooms and are they large enough to accommodate the needs of a growing family? 
  • If you plan to live in the home as you age, are there stairs that you'll have to deal with every day?
  • How much storage is there? If you tour a home in the summer when you're not wearing a coat, it's easy to overlook the fact that you have no closet in the entry hall. And if you're just starting out, it's easy to underestimate just how much stuff you can accumulate at time goes by.

Think, too, about how your needs might change through the years. 

FOUNDATION ISSUES

One of the most crucial items to check while on a home tour is the foundation. Don't wait until the final walkthrough to look for any cracks in the walls, especially horizontal ones. Also check door and window frames while asking yourself these questions. 

  • Are they square and allow for easy opening and closing? 
  • Are there cracks in the garage or basement floor? 

If the home is older, some settling is expected. If the home is newer or the issues are extensive, though, chances are the foundation isn't as solid as it could be.   

ROOFING ISSUES 

Checking a roof on a home tour is, of course, tricky, since the only way to get a good look is to climb on up! But even from the ground, there are a few things you should be able to assess. 

  • Do you see any missing or loose shingles? 
  • Are the gutters fastened securely all the way around the house? If not, you could have issues with water collecting, which could damage the roof.
  • Are there trees close to the home? Branches from dead and dying trees can easily fall on a roof during high winds. Even healthy trees can cause problems by constantly scratching the roof, as well as giving access to squirrels or other wildlife.

WATER AND MOISTURE ISSUES

Make sure you also look for any water stains or issues with mold or mildew. 

  • Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to check under the sinks - are there signs of mold or water damage? Look for discoloration and see if you smell a musty scent.
  • Check the window frames - are there signs of mildew or signs of rotting wood? All of these signs can suggest that the home has excess moisture and has or may develop mold problems. 

If mold has invaded the home, it can pose health risks, and it's expensive to clean up and repair. So, exercise caution if you see any tell-tale signs of it.

FUNCTIONING HOME SYSTEMS

Make sure the basic systems of the home are in good working order by turning on appliances and the HVAC system, checking that outlets and light switches work, and checking the water pressure.

Find out about the electrical panel to ensure it's up to code and in good working order. Consider these questions during the tour. 

  • Does the home still use fuses? 
  • What kind of wiring does the home have? Older homes were often built using forms of wiring, such as knob and tube, that have proven to be safety hazards. If the house you're touring is more than fifty years old, you'll want to make sure that any older wiring has been brought up to code in more recent years.

Buying a home, especially for the first time, can feel like a daunting process, but our professionals at Orizon Real Estate can help every step of the way as you navigate today's market. Give us a call at 260-248-8961.