What to Look for When Buying a Home

Dated: 11/13/2018

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Buying a home can be super exciting!  You’re likely looking for something that has enough space for your family, is convenient to work or in a good school district.  You may be looking for something that is your style, or maybe you’re looking for something with good bones that has the potential to be your dream home.  No matter which of these items you are looking for in a home, you should also play close attention to the physical elements of the home.  Understanding the expected life expectancy of the various aspects of the house will help you make an informed decision and save you from unexpected expenses down the line.  
​When I am helping a client find a home, there are a few areas I look at right away to determine if they are in decent condition.  Before I even step foot in the home, I like to look at the seller’s disclosure notice.  This will inform me of any known past or present issues with the home.  If there is anything of note, I will make sure to take a closer look when I get to the home.  The seller’s disclosure sometimes includes the age of the roof.  Oftentimes, the current owner may not know the age so, the first thing I do when I get to the home is take a look at the roof.  Rarely can I fully view the roof from the ground, but I can see if there are tree limbs that may be damaging it.  Sometimes, I can visibly see the roof is in poor condition.
​Next, I enter the home.  One of the most-costly home issues is a home with a poor foundation.  If the foundation is not performing as designed, the entire home can have various issues.  I am not an inspector, nor a foundation expert.  However, I do know of some tell-tale signs of foundation issues.  Uneven cracks in walls, a floor that feels un-level, cracks in the exterior of the home are all signs of foundation issues.  These characteristics could also be entirely unrelated to a foundation problem.  A floor may simply be uneven due to a poor sub-flooring job.  But, If I suspect foundation issues, I will let my clients know.  This way, they can then make an informed decision if they want to still pursue the house, and then hire an inspector and foundation expert to give their professional opinion. 
In Texas, a good AC system is important.  I want to take a look at the system right away, and see if I can ascertain more information about the home’s HVAC.  Simple things like dirty filters can tell you if a person takes care of their system or not.  I also like to look at the condenser unit and see if I can find a serial number.  The serial number of most appliances is coded to tell you the age of the appliance.  A simple google search will usually help me decipher the code for any given manufacturer and consequently the product’s age.  
​As I mentioned before, I am not a home inspector.  However, if I can identify a potential major money pit simply from walking through a home, I’m going to make sure my clients know.  This way, my clients don’t end up getting their hopes up about the home, spending money on an inspection and then realizing the home is going to be too problematic in the long run.  When you’re looking for a new home, make sure to keep an eye out for more than just a gorgeous master with his and hers closets.  Also, look at these important elements of a home to make sure you are not moving into a money pit.  If you’re considering buying in the Austin area, contact me today, or take a look at these homes for sale in Austin.  
This post originally appeared on shesellsaustin.com
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Erika Albert

Erika Rae Albert is an Austin native who has built her business around one guiding principle, YOU always come first. Prior to joining the real estate industry, she honed her her customer service s....

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