Shopping is shopping, whether it’s for groceries, a new computer, a car or a house. Making a list of what you want and need – and the item’s ideal features and benefits – helps make the process easier.
When looking at houses, with a checklist for home buying in hand, you avoid being distracted by the new surroundings and any staging the seller has done, and you can concentrate your attention where it should be: on the features you are looking for in your new home.
What to Include on Your Home Buying Checklist
To avoid forgetting anything important when you view a home, make a checklist of the items you want to pay close attention to. Some elements of this list will be subjective and based on your specific wants and needs. Here are some ideas to get you started on your list:
- Which appliances are included in the sale? How old are they, and how well do they work? Don’t be afraid to take a look at the inside of any stove or refrigerator included in the sale of the house to determine its condition.
- Is there enough storage in the bathroom? Are there enough bathrooms for your family?
- Are the closets large enough and designed for your needs?
- How old is the house’s electric wiring? Are there enough outlets?
- What type of floor runs through the house? Will it need to be replaced? Does the home flooring need any special care or maintenance?
- Will the kitchen be easy to work in? Is there sufficient storage?
- How old is the water heater, furnace and air conditioning system?
- Are the windows energy efficient? Is the glass warped or crazed? Are there holes in the screens?
- Will you need to replace or update the lighting in the any of the rooms? Many buyers don’t take the time to test a home’s lighting. Check the lights in the bathrooms and kitchen to ensure they meet your needs.
- If you work from home, make sure there is adequate space for you to work efficiently and comfortably. Check to make sure there are enough power outlets in the room that you’ll be using as an office. If you work online, find out about Internet service in the area.
- Double-check all of the homeowner’s improvements. Ask if they were done professionally and ask to see receipts. Call the improvements to the attention of the home inspector so that he can check them as a professional.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) website has an in-depth home-viewing checklist that may give you more ideas on what to look for when shopping for a home. They suggest making copies of the checklist for each home that you tour to keep track of each home’s details.
Viewing a home with an eye toward living in it takes a bit of imagination. Try to visualize the home with your furniture and decorative items. Use a measuring tape if you need to ensure spaces are the right size. Most of all don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.