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Things to Look for When Purchasing a New Home

Thinking of purchasing a new home? If you have purchased a home before you probably have a good idea of what to expect. If this will be your first time in the house-hunting market, you may be in for more than you bargained for! This is not like kicking a few tires or driving it around the block to see if you like it; real estate is the biggest investment you probably will ever make.

Author: Courtney Beyer
Date: Jul 9, 2012 - 6:11:33 PM

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Thinking of purchasing a new home? If you have purchased a home before you probably have a good idea of what to expect. If this will be your first time in the house-hunting market, you may be in for more than you bargained for! This is not like kicking a few tires or driving it around the block to see if you like it; real estate is the biggest investment you probably will ever make.

First things first - find yourself a trusted and licensed realtor who will lead you through the process. Second, ask yourself some questions regarding what you’d really like to have in your new home and make a list that includes things like:

• What neighborhoods in Rochester, Minnesota do you like the best?
• Do you want a house, a condo, or a townhouse?
• How many bedrooms and bathrooms would best fit your needs?
• Do you prefer all the rooms on one floor, or is a split-level or a two story okay?
• Do you want a big yard, or, do you want a yard at all?
• Are you looking to renovate? If so, what is your budget?
• What are your priorities? If you are a gourmet cook a spacious and modern kitchen will be highly desirable, if you’re a mechanic who likes to repair or restore vehicles a large garage with tons of space will be a top priority.

There are basic needs that must be in place for everyone. We all need to bathe, sleep, eat, and relax and hang-out in comfort. Let’s say you and your realtor find a house that seems to fit nicely within your needs. You schedule a walk-through and go take a look, but now what? What details should you focus on at this point?

Take a few things with you when you go visit. A digital camera can help jog your memory after the visit if there is something you want to think about. A flashlight can also be helpful if you are peering into a dark corner or closet, and a tape measure will ensure that Grandma’s antique armoire will fit through the bedroom door.

A few tips to consider as you tour the home:

• Turn on the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms to test for proper water pressure and see if the water is clean or contains rust and/or sediments.
• Look at the capacity of the water heating system and how it is heated. If you have a bigger family, will it be able to keep up with family demands?
• Check out the heating and cooling systems. When were they last replaced and have they received periodic maintenance checks?
• Look for signs of water leakage; bubbling paint, stains in the ceiling, and/or peeling wall paper are significant clues there may be water problems.
• Remember that your nose knows! Can you smell any mildew or mold?
• Do the doors and windows open and shut easily? Do they have screens that fit?
• Check the number and locations of power outlets, cable and Internet access points.
• Are the rooms arranged to suit your needs? Where is the laundry/utility room, and are the bathrooms close to the bedrooms?
• Are the rooms decorated in colors you can live with? Unless you are a do-it-yourself painter and don’t mind making minor renovations, repainting and/or wall-paper removal can be a costly undertaking if you hire a professional.
• Check for cracked or missing tile and caulk in the bathrooms. Is there mold?
• If there is carpet you intend to remove, look to see how it is attached. There is a significant difference between carpet that has been glued to the subflooring compared to carpeting that has been laid over an existing and possibly quite beautiful hardwood floor.
• What is the state of the kitchen cupboards? If they are constructed of a good solid material they will last longer and be easier to refurbish than those of lesser quality.

This is only a partial list of interior details of which to be aware. The exterior needs to be examined as well such as the state of the foundation, roof, chimney, and siding. Do your research; the Internet has loads of sites to peruse for ideas. And don’t forget that your realtor is a professional who has access to the resources that can make your experience more like “The Little House on the Prairie” rather than “The Money Pit”.

Peter Dokken a realtor in Rochester, MN specializes in not only helping you buy a home, but also short sales and foreclosures.

View all articles by Courtney Beyer

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