The essential home shopping checklist: Part 1

Home shopping is a complicated process. Finding the right home at the right price in a great location can certainly be a challenge. As you attend viewings, give each home a thorough inspection to weed out lemons and uncover hidden gems. Every major and minor issue adds up, and a continuous need for repairs and renovations can have a major impact on your budget. On the flip side, a home in terrific condition lets you save and spend on your terms. Here are 8 elements to add to your home shopping checklist:

Hunt for cracks.

Wall cracks are an eyesore and can lead to unsightly repair bills. But when the cracks are contained to your garage or basement, it’s easy to slap a quick band aid over the wound and worry about them later. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Only until the cracks spread and allow moisture to seep in. Comb wall surfaces for cracks—don’t be afraid to bust out the flashlight for those murky corners!

Discover your dimensions.

When it comes to home viewings, a trusty tape measure is your best friend. Measuring the dimensions of each room and closet space can help you plan the layout of furniture and appliances. Will your couch fit in the corner? Is there enough garage space for your workbench? There’s only one way to find out!

Note power outlet placement.

When planning the layout to your future home, power outlet location is an essential piece of the puzzle. Beds, couches, desks and tables need nearby power outlets for chargers and lamps. The kitchen needs outlets for toasters and blenders. You want to keep those plugs within reach and those cords out of sight.

Investigate hairline cracks.

Get up close and personal to check for tiny hairline cracks in the wall plaster. These cracks may not currently be glaring, but they have a knack for spreading like wildfire and turning into an extensive and expensive repair project.

Listen for squeaks.

Keep your ears tuned while you climb the stairs and pace around each level. Not only are squeaky surfaces annoying, they often signal structural problems. Excessively creaky steps and floorboards can indicate an old home with many years of wear and tear. They can also indicate a need for major repairs in the near future.

Locate the laundry.

Are the washing machine and dryer conveniently located or hidden away in a dark corner of the basement? A laundry room next to the main living area can make life easier, while a basement spot can mean many precarious trips up and down the stairs with your laundry basket in tow.

Review the roof.

Look for signs of trouble up top before you even walk through the door! You can spot most concerns with a pair of binoculars and a clear vantage point. Inspect gutters for rust and blockages and look for cracked and loose shingles throughout the roof. Without proper protection, leaks run rampant and lead to rot and mold. An expensive roof repair is a terrible way to start your homeownership journey!

Plot your bathroom bonanza.

Choose a home with enough bathrooms to meet your family’s current and future needs. Don’t have kids? An extra bathroom on the main floor can still make a major difference in the morning and after work. Remember, bathroom additions come with a hefty price tag.

Read part 2 of our essential home shopping checklist for 7 health and safety hazards to look for.

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