If you have never closed the deal on a mortgage loan before, house hunting might seem as daunting as buying a used car, but there are areas of the home you should add to your mental checklist of things to examine while walking through the property.

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What to Look for in a House That's for Sale

June 30, 2024

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If you have never closed the deal on a mortgage loan before, house hunting might seem as daunting as buying a used car, but there are areas of the home you should add to your mental checklist of things to examine while walking through the property.

What follows isn’t an exhaustive list and some of the problems we discuss below may have causes other than those covered here. Always remember many variables can affect the condition of a home.

Examine the Walls and Ceiling

Homes with flooding or plumbing issues may show signs of water damage, such as stains, patches of wall that don’t quite match the others, warped wood, etc. Staining is often the first cosmetic indication of a moisture problem in some homes, as is the smell of mold or mildew.

Ceiling tiles that are stained or discolored may indicate a leak from above, whether from the roof or an upstairs bathroom.

Look at the Windows and Doors

Do the windows and doors appear new or new-ish? Or are they showing visible signs of age? Is there peeling paint or cracked trim? Do the doors close properly or do they stick?

Appliances and Systems in the Home

Does the house have a modern water heater or an ancient boiler system? Are the physical components of the heating and air conditioning system old and rusty or shiny and new?
Does the home have a basement? Is the basement equipped with a radon abatement system where appropriate? What about a sump pump?

Basement

A good home can still have issues with the basement or crawlspace. If there are standing pools of water, stains or discolorations on the walls or you notice cracked walls or flooring, this could indicate a foundation problem or an issue with “rising water” or seepage in the basement from large snowfall or spring showers.

Attic

Mold, mildew, and other moisture-related problems may lurk in the attic. The attic's condition could clue you into the roof's condition, especially if there are moisture issues inside, and you can view obvious patches or other repairs from the outside.

There are many other issues to look out for when buying a home but these are some of the ones some borrowers don’t know to look for...at first.

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