When you begin your home/condo search, here are 3 things you need to be focused on when viewing properties:
- Functionality of Floor Plan - Does the floor plan flow or is it choppy? Does it meet your needs? When you walk through a home, it's important initially get a feel for the home, because emotion plays a big part when house-hunting. It's easy to get distracted by the seller's furnishings if the home is occupied, so you need to do your best and visualize the property with how you would furnish it. Is the floor plan bright & open or seem dark with narrow hallways? If you have large furniture or a lot of it, will the furniture fit in the rooms?
- Cosmetic Conditions - Would you need to repaint... re-carpet... replace cabinets or counter tops...etc? As you approach the front door, how does the exterior look? Is the landscaping maintained? Any cracked window panes or failed window seals? Is there a lot of wallpaper that may need to come down? Look at what things you feel you could reasonably handle yourself versus having to hire a contractor to take care of.
- Big-Ticket Items - What are the ages of the roof... furnace... water heater... appliances... etc? It's important to get a rough idea of how old different mechanical systems in the home are. You'll never know how long an item will last, but knowing if it's on its last leg and can go at any time will help you in figuring out how soon you'd have to save some money to replace it. One of the reasons for a home inspection is to make you aware of any defective items. If an item is defective, then you can request the seller to correct it (they can say 'yes or no'). If an item is just older, but is still working fine, then you need to understand that the seller is under no obligation to replace it. That's why it's important when walking through a property to do your best to determine the ages of the mechanical systems, so that will help you when deciding on an asking price for an offer.
Focusing on these 3 points will help you during your home/condo search. It's also important to make detailed notes to yourself as you go through each home, because that will make it easier for you to remember things about the property when it's time to make an offer on it.
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