what to look for when buying a house

Homeownership in the U.S. remains at an all-time high, averaging 64.35% from January 2018 to June 2019.

What’s more, reports show that existing home sales regained momentum in May 2019. That month, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing home sales went up to 5.34 million. That’s a considerable increase of 2.50% from the previous month!

All these tell us that more Americans are now making the switch from being renters to homeowners. And it’s time that you consider this for yourself too.

But before you fall in love with the first property you tour, you should first know what to look for when buying a house. This way, you can get the most out of the huge amount of money that will go toward your home purchase.

Ready to learn all about the qualities, attributes, and features to look for in your soon-to-be home? Then let’s get right into it!

1. Sufficient Living Space for Your Current and Future Needs

Square footage is one of the most important things to consider before buying a house. For starters, because it’s a crucial element that determines the property’s selling price. Second, it tells you how much space you can actually use.

For example, in early 2018, the average square footage of new single-family homes was 2,641 square feet. That’s about 400 square feet more than similar-styled homes in 1999!

The question here is, would that be enough for your family’s current needs? Would it be enough if you’d want to make structural additions in the future?

So, make sure that you consider both the current and the future space needs of your family when buying a home.

2. Adequate Number of Bedrooms for Each Member of the Family

Even if you’ve stopped growing your family, you’d still want each member to have a room of their own. If you have a growing family, then it’s even more important to find a home with enough bedrooms. Or at least, enough space so you can add a bedroom in the future.

3. Enough Toilets and Baths

How many exactly depends on how big your family is. If there’s only two of you, then one bathroom may be enough.

However, many homes in the U.S., especially those recently built, now have more than one bathroom. For example, in 2017, over a third of the completed 795,000 single-family homes had three or more bathrooms.

4. Ample Kitchen, Dining, and Living Room Space

Fun fact: The average single household owns around 11 appliances. This goes up to 14 for two-person households, while a six-person household owns 17.5 appliances!

That’s why as you shop for a new home in Portland, don’t forget to consider the size of the kitchen. Make sure that all your furniture will also fit in the dining and living room.

5. Available Storage

If you’re like the average American household, then you likely own 300,000 items. Now, would your new home be able to accommodate all your stuff? If so, what exactly are the storage options you have?

That said, be sure to consider the availability of cabinets, closets, and shelves as you look for a new home. If you can give each of your home prospects a physical tour, better, so you can see how big their storage space is. This’ll also let you inspect their condition, such as if there are missing or damaged handles.

6. Structural Soundness

As you make a list of what to ask when buying a house, include questions about a home’s structural soundness. Are there any compromised load-bearing walls, sagging walls, or unstable ceiling joists? Is there adequate insulation, and if so, what type of insulation material does the home have?

Keep in mind that structural and foundation issues are also things you want to look for as you shop for a new home. Because when you do find these problems, you should take them as a red flag not to buy that house.

7. A Stable, Damage-Free Roof

A damage-free roof is another crucial thing to look for in your potential, soon-to-be home. Ask how old the roof is and if there are any leaks, missing shingles or tiles, or bald spots.

If there are, will the owner get them repaired before selling the home to you? If not, is the owner willing to drop the selling price?

8. A Problem-Free Plumbing System

You want a home that has leak-free faucets, toilets, shower heads, and plumbing pipes. It’s also important that the drains, pipes, and sewer lines are free of clogs. The hot water tank should also be in good condition, and of course, isn’t leaking.

One of the most crucial plumbing-related questions to ask when buying a home is if it has a history of burst pipes. These incidents aren’t rare, with many of them being the cause of water damage claims. These claims, by the way, accounted for 19.5% of homeowners insurance claims in 2017.

If a home you want to buy did experience a burst pipe, ask how the homeowner addressed it. If there was a delay in water damage clean up and repairs, it’s possible that the home also has a mold problem.

9. Energy-Efficient Structural Components and Appliances

While these are more of a “preference”, energy-efficient features can lower homeownership costs. Dual pane windows, for instance, have shown to cut heating costs by $275 to $300. Another is an Energy Star-rated HVAC system, which can lower electricity bills by $115 a year.

10. Specific Needs and Personal Preferences

Perhaps someone in your family has mobility issues. In this case, you’d want to look for a home with accessibility features, such as a ramp as well as stable and wide pathways.

Another “specific need” may be to have a spacious play area for your kids and family pets. If so, then consider looking for a home with a big yard. Better if there’s a stable fence already installed, so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your kids and pets.

Use this Guide as a Checklist on What to Look for When Buying a House

There you have it, your comprehensive list on what to look for when buying a house. It’s best you make a copy and list everything we discussed, so you can use it as a checklist for your home inspections.

Need professionals you can rely on to guide you during the home buying process in Portland? If so, then please don’t hesitate to connect with us! We’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you the guidance you need to buy a home you’ll love in The City of Roses!

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