At SMart Realty, each of our real estate agents are committed to getting you into the home of your dreams by helping to navigate you through the home buying and selling process as smoothly as possible. As a part of that vision, today we’ll offer home buyers some helpful tips for how to take off the rose-colored glasses and see a house, along with its potential shortcomings, before they reach the inspection and appraisal portion of a real estate deal – potentially saving them from wasting their time with a contract that will fall through or, worse, buying a house they will come to dislike.

Identifying and Classifying Faults on a Home Tour

As mentioned above, we don’t want you to find everything wrong with a home in order to talk you out of it – far from it, we want you to fall in love with any home you buy while knowing any faults it may have (or not have). It is important that you see what you like, dislike, and may need to be concerned about before you put a house under contract, as that process can be time consuming enough to make you just want to go forward with a house anyway, even with substantial reason for concern. By finding major reasons for concern on your first time in the home, you can adjust your offer (and say why) or pass on the house altogether.

An Amateur Inspector’s Tools

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or looking for the perfect place to retire, you need to know what to look for before starting your home tour. After all, every home you lived in until now had its own set of problems and idiosyncrasies, meaning you may not have ever encountered (or know to identify) a major issue. If you want to inspect houses like a pro, you’ll need to take the following with you on any house tour you go on, so that you can thoroughly inspect any that you may be interested in:

  • Your own agent – While it may be odd to think of a real estate agent as a tool, they are the most useful tool in your toolbox. Having your own agent keeps any seller’s agents off of your back, gives you access to the home, and an experienced advocate in your corner.
  • Smartphone – Never, ever enter a home tour without a charged phone. Your phone is an indispensable resource on a home tour; it can be a camera, record video, and even allow you to lookup anything you’re not sure about, such as if there are any common problems with the home’s furnace, based solely on its model number.
  • Flashlight, bottle of water, measuring tape, stepstool, level, and moisture meter – While your smartphone is good for a great many things, taking it beyond the basics to get these simple inspector’s tools can tell you a lot about a home. You can find a moisture meter for 50 to 100 dollars online (with instructions and best practices for use); while that may seem like a lot, remember that you’re going to be investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on the home!

What You’re Looking For

Remember, this won’t be the last and only time the home will be inspected; we always recommend partnering with at least one experienced and reputable home inspector that is working for you (never the seller!). That said, during your initial walk-through, you’ll want to contain any urges to “gush,” choosing to instead calmly analyze what you love and dislike about the home – remember, if this is the one for you, you’ll have plenty of time to be excited later!

In terms of potential problems to keep your eyes peeled for, here are some of the specifics that you should look for:

  • Structural issues – First and foremost, you want your future home to be on a solid, stable foundation. This means that you won’t see any major cracks in the foundation, often best noticed on the foundation or around the home’s exterior. Beyond that, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled inside and out for any unlevel surfaces or shoddy construction work.
  • Water – There is nothing more destructive to a home over time than water. Water not only causes mold and mildew, but can easily rot wood or crack concrete. If you see any indication that water has, could, or is pooling around the home, then you may have a major issue on your hands; the same should be said for water inside the home’s walls or rooms.
  • Common problems – Ask your real estate agent what the homeowners listed as far as recent home improvements, then inspect those elements to get your impressions of the work. Beyond that, be sure to analyze the roof (at least from a distance), windows, furnace, water heater, other appliances, ductwork, plumbing, and electrical systems for any obvious problems.
  • The unchangeables – No matter how much you fix up the home, you can’t change where it is, which direction it faces, who your neighbors are, and more. Be sure to examine all of these elements in your limited time at the property to ensure that all of them are within your comfort zone; pay special attention to any busy streets nearby, loud barking dogs, and neighboring homes in disrepair. If possible, speak to one or more of the neighbors; while this could be awkward, you may learn something about the neighborhood in the easiest way possible. Just remember to always check for things you don’t like and can’t change.

Contact Our Agents

Above all, the most important thing is that you partner with a real estate agent that can get you the best deal on the best possible house to call your next home; from there, everything with fall into place. The biggest difference between simply looking at houses for sale and truly finding the home of your dreams is found in a great agent, backed by a team of experts and years of experience in the local Faulkner, Conway, and Perry area markets!

Contact our agents today to begin looking for your next home among local houses for sale!