My dear old friend Brian Sr. has always been there for me when it comes to making a big decision, and buying a home is obviously one of the big ones. He provided me with a list years ago and it got lost in old email accounts… here is what he came up with when I asked again. I am pretty sure he said “don’t lose this one!’ So I am publishing it here so I don’t. Feel free to pass it on to someone you know.

  • Get an idea of properties available and prices in the area (who was builder?)
  • When was it built? What was the economy like the year it was built?
  • Talk to neighbors for problems, issues, noise, nighttime activity, roaming pets, kids, teenagers
  • Is this a good area & do I want to live in it?
  • Privacy in back yard?
  • Does property suit my needs (house, duplex, terrace, unit, etc.)?
  • Decoration is cheaper than adding on, so bigger is better
  • Is the area convenient to work, essential shops, schools and other services you need?
  • What is area traffic pattern and accessibility… take a drive there Monday morning.
  • Is public transport nearby?
  • Is having family and friends nearby a priority?
  • Are lifestyle amenities available or important (beach, pools, parks, views, general shopping, churches)?
  • How is the area zoned? Multifamily, basement apartments, is street parking an issue? Parking available for visitors?
  • Are there any apparent concern or risk factors (i.e. flight paths, proximity to chemical plants, other air or noise pollution, flood potential or landfill hazards, high voltage power lines?)
  • What is the development history and development forecast of the area… will you eventually¬† lose a view or a park?
  • What will your taxes be after the sale compared to the taxes being paid now!!!!!!
    • Get light and heat bill history
    • Mail delivered to house or where is the mail boxes (ask neighbors about reliability)
    • What is the crime rate for the area… ask police or check your city’s website
  • Physical check
    • Are walls 2×4 or 2×6 construction (insulation R12 or R20)… more windows equals less effective R value.
    • Windows multi glazed for good insulation (check windows for cracks or insulation failure)
    • Check attic for thickness and quality of insulation and roof in attic for leak stains and attic eves for ventilation. Older homes may have wood chip insulation under newer batt insulation.
    • Underfloor areas and basement for ventilation (wet nose and then smell basement air for mildew)
    • Check exposed basement walls (inside and outside) for cracks and mortar quality.
    • Exterior walls (look along outside walls) for straightness.
    • Quality and maintenance of exterior siding, vinyl, Hardie Board, EIFS, etc.
    • Check roofline for sagging (if not straight then walk away)
    • Roof condition, guttering, flues, chimneys and flashings, type of shingles
    • Eaves and walls for water staining that may reveal roof or gutter problems
    • All rooms for any evidence of water entry or mildew
    • Check basement ceiling for stains that might be pet urine
    • Check window sills inside and outside for rot or leaking
    • Check quality and condition of all entry doors and locks and storm/screen doors and door frames
    • Timber floors for rot, mould, borer and termites
    • Concrete floors for exposed perimeters, cracks and water penetration
    • Wet or damp areas like bathrooms, showers and laundries for cracks, leaks and mildew
    • Turn on taps, flush all toilets, check for stains indicating drips. Taste the water!!!!!
    • Age and quality of furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner
    • Wiring entrance circuit service and expandability, aluminum or knob and tube wiring? 60 AMP service?
    • Plumbing material age… Poly-B, copper, ABS? End of life?
    • Hot water tank and furnace age?
    • Check water humidity filter (on furnace) for maintenance and do same for furnace filter (if dirty then house is not maintained)
    • How old is central vac (vented to outside?)
    • Evidence of existing or past pest or pet activity
    • Any trees nearby for possible structural damage caused by roots or over hang
    • Garages and sheds for water penetration
    • Garage door opener works (how old) garage door fits snugly? Garage floor condition?
    • Condition of walks and driveway (cracked, sagged)
    • Consider that the home may have Asbestos and/or Radon

I hope some of these help you in finding your new home and remember plan on setting 2-3% of the house cost aside per year for future maintenance costs, we have a Purchase Plus Improvements that can update some things now and get you in!