Buying a home is a big decision involving a long-term financial commitment. The process is also not easy, as you must consider several factors such as budget, location, property size, preference, and more. All these things can overwhelm you when looking for your perfect home. But have you considered making a buyer wants and needs checklist?
A wants and needs checklist is an important tool when buying a home. It helps to give you a clear idea of the type of home you need, which can save you a lot of time. It also makes it easier to balance your preferences and other important considerations you have to make. Most importantly, it helps prevent an emotional purchase, which can lead to overspending or purchasing a house with several costly issues.
The following are some of the top wants and needs you should consider when buying a home. These items can help you find a good house faster or prevent you from making a financial mistake by identifying red flags in your potential home.
Is the Building Safe and Clean?
Safety and cleanliness are two important items you should have on your buyer wants and needs checklist when looking for a home. The last thing you want is to buy an unsafe home for you and your family. Also, you don’t want to spend too much money making the house appealing after the purchase.
Physical security matters a lot when it comes to your new home’s safety. You should check that the house has good security features such as a good fence, gate, and secure doors and windows. In addition, items such as burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, and smoke detectors are a bonus that can make your new home safer.
Besides physical security, you should also be looking for health safety hazards. These include rodent and pest infestations, mold and mildew, asbestos, and dangerous gases. Unfortunately, some of these hazards, such as mold and asbestos, might not be easily identifiable when walking through a home. Therefore, hiring a professional to conduct a mold and asbestos inspection might be a good idea before deciding on a house.
A clean home is another important consideration when purchasing a home. The cleaner the house is, the less you spend sprucing it up after purchasing. Cleanliness can also signify a well-maintained home, which could mean a lesser chance of discovering issues such as mold and mildew.
Is the HVAC System in Good Working Order?
A good heating and cooling system is another item you should check off your buyer wants and needs checklist when purchasing a home. A faulty HVAC system can mean high utility bills or enduring uncomfortable temperatures during the hot and cold seasons. It will also lead to poor indoor air quality and health issues such as allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
Besides keeping your house warm or cool and improving air quality, an HVAC system also increases your home’s ventilation. This helps to prevent mold and mildew growth. Therefore, a faulty air conditioning system could be a red flag for mold issues.
Having a working HVAC system is thus a must when you are looking to purchase a home. However, you should go even further and ensure the system is not outdated. An air conditioning unit near or at the end of its lifespan could mean dealing with frequent and costly repairs. Ultimately, you might even be forced to replace the system, which will be expensive.
Unfortunately, most buyers only focus on whether the HVAC system is working when purchasing a home. A general home inspection might also miss out on issues with the unit. Therefore, it might be a good idea to have the system inspected by an HVAC contractor.
How’s the Wiring?
Electrical issues can be one of the biggest nightmares for new homeowners. Faulty electrical wiring can damage your appliances, leading to huge losses. It can also be a safety hazard, increasing the risk of electrocution or fires. On top of that, it can mean undertaking expensive wiring repairs or even overhauling the entire system. Therefore, the wiring should be at the top of your buyer wants and needs checklist when buying a home.
A good way to avoid wiring issues is to be on the lookout for various red flags when looking to buy a house. These include flickering lights, buzzing noise, frayed wires, faulty outlets, and switches that are not working. Old homes and ones with rodent infestations are also likely to have wiring issues.
Unfortunately, homes have hundreds of feet of wiring, mostly hidden. Therefore, they can have wiring issues without any obvious red flags. As such, it is essential to hire professional electricians to conduct a pre-purchase electrical inspection of your home. This will help identify any hidden electrical issues that can cost you a lot of money in the future.
Are There Plumbing Issues?
Plumbing is another essential item that you should have on your buyer wants and needs checklist. Unfortunately, most plumbing issues are usually hidden, with homeowners discovering them only after moving in. Therefore, you can find yourself dealing with problems such as leaking water, flooding, and a backed-up sewer line.
Plumbing issues can make your stay in your new home a nightmare, and some can even lead to health hazards such as mold growth. On top of that, plumbing repairs and replacements can be expensive, which can strain you financially.
Therefore, before purchasing a home, you should conduct a thorough inspection of the house’s plumbing system. Start by ensuring that all water supply lines and valves are working perfectly. Next, check that there are no issues with the faucets, toilets, sinks, water heater, shower heads, drains, and sewer lines. It’s also a good idea to check whether water-related appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines are working perfectly.
Like with wiring, you should hire a plumbing contractor to conduct an expert plumbing inspection when buying a home. This will help identify any hidden problems and give you an estimate of repairs you might have to make. As a result, you can make a more informed decision on whether to buy.
Is There Any Structural Damage?
Structural integrity is another essential factor when buying a home unless you’re looking for a fixer-upper. Even then, you should identify any structural damage issues which could lead to costly, unbudgeted repairs. Therefore, you should thoroughly inspect your home before purchasing, which will help you make an informed decision.
The foundation is one of the main areas to consider when looking for structural damage. Cracks in the foundation can be a serious concern you should pay attention to. You should also check for other foundation issues, such as cracks in the walls near the ground or soil pulling away from the walls. Water damage is another issue you should note, as it could lead to several structural problems.
Besides the foundation, you should also check for structural issues with the walls. Visible cracks in the wall and other problems, such as bulging, could signify structural damage. You should also note with concern any cracks extending from windows or in the ceiling.
Lastly, you should check the condition of the roof. A roof with extensive damage can mean expensive repairs or even full roof replacement. Roof damage could also signify foundation issues, which can be very costly.
Is the Yard in Good Condition?
A good yard might not be on everyone’s buyer wants and needs checklist. However, it can be important, especially if you have kids and pets or love spending time outdoors. An unkempt yard will also add to the list of things you need to take care of in your new home. Therefore, it’s very important to consider the condition of your yard before making a purchase.
Most yard issues are minor, and you can easily handle them yourself. For example, you can give your yard a new look by trimming the lawn and planting some flowers and plants once you move in. You can also easily clean up any junk that is on the property.
However, some yard issues be a source of concern. For example, trees growing close to your new house could damage the roof. Therefore, you might have to hire tree trimming services to cut down overhanging branches. Alternatively, you can move the trees, requiring hiring professional tree movers if the trees are large enough.
For trees that can’t be trimmed or moved, the only other option is to cut them down. Unfortunately, this can leave your yard with unsightly stumps, which can make your yard look shabby, thus necessitating a professional tree stump grinding service.
Is the Home in a Good School District?
A good school district is another item you want on your buyer wants and needs checklist. If you have children or plan to have them in the future, a good school district will mean quality education for them. Therefore, you owe it to them to choose a neighborhood with good and safe schools.
Besides education, good school districts offer several more benefits when purchasing a home. Good schools are mostly found in safer neighborhoods, which can be a huge bonus for your family. These areas are also more developed, with better roads, shopping complexes, and other amenities. On top of that, a good school district can mean a better resale value and faster resell time if you ever plan on moving.
Unfortunately, when choosing homes based on school districts, you might have to make some trade-offs. Homes in these areas are usually expensive, in very high demand, and only stay in the market for a short time. Therefore, you can consider alternatives, such as buying a home with good local private schools, if education is your biggest concern.
What Kind of Homeowners Insurance Plan Do You Need?
Finding a good affordable home can be quite exciting and can make you forget about other expenses you might incur. One of these expenses is home insurance, which can be quite high. Therefore, insurance is another item you should have on your buyer wants and needs checklist when buying a home.
Home insurance is affected by several factors you should consider before making a purchase. One of the top factors is location — homes in unsafe neighborhoods are likely to attract higher insurance premiums. Likewise, your new home is likely to require high insurance expenses if it is in flood-risk areas or prone to extreme weather conditions.
Besides location, the age of your home can affect your homeowners insurance premiums. Older houses are expensive to insure, especially with outdated electrical and plumbing systems. However, on the positive side, some factors go in your favor regarding your home insurance. For example, homes in safe neighborhoods or near a fire station usually have cheaper insurance premiums.
All of these are issues you need to consider when purchasing a home. However, talking to home insurance agents can give you a better idea of the type of insurance you will need in your new home. As a result, you can make a more informed decision.
Are You Buying With a Reliable Agent?
A real estate agent offers you expert assistance, which helps you easily navigate the complex home-buying process. They also have access to a lot of information, which, combined with their experience, can help you make an informed decision. Furthermore, their inner knowledge of the industry can help expand your search power, allowing you to find a good home at an affordable price.
A reliable real estate agent is also an asset in your corner during home inspections and negations. They can also help keep you focused and prevent you from making an emotional purchase that can cost you. Therefore, finding a trustworthy realtor is the first thing you should do before starting the home-buying process.
Buying a new home is a long and tiring process; you might have to go through several houses before finding a suitable one. On top of that, there are several risks that you want to avoid, as they can leave you in a financial pitfall. Fortunately, the above buyer wants and needs checklist can help you make an informed decision and simplify the process. Ultimately, finding a home that meets every requirement on your list can take time and effort. However, you can make an informed decision with these considerations in mind.