There’s no such thing as a minor detail when you’re shopping for a house in Central New Jersey. Overlooking a damp basement or a faulty electrical system can lead to big bills once you close on your home. Luckily, you can avoid common home buying pitfalls by paying attention to these five things during an open house.
A quirky floor plan will definitely add character to your home but at what cost? Will your furniture fit in the awkwardly shaped rooms or up those narrow, winding stairs? Is the refrigerator in the pantry instead of the kitchen? Will your guests have to walk through a bedroom to use the bathroom? Good floor plans offer logical flow patterns, separation of public and private spaces, and enough bedrooms and bathrooms for your family and guests.
Room to Expand and Change
Life changes quickly. In the course of a single year, you may add another member to your family, develop mobility issues that make climbing the stairs difficult, or take up a new hobby. If your new home offers ample room to grow with you, you’ll save money on renovation costs. When you tour homes, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the basement high and dry? Can I turn it into living space in the future?
- Is there room on the first floor for a bedroom suite if I ever need to move downstairs?
- How big is the garage? Is there enough room for cars and my hobby equipment?
- Can I expand or make modifications to the house if I’m touring a model home in a new home community?
Water damage can ravage even solidly built homes. Over time, a small trickle can destroy walls, insulation and floors and lead to big repair bills. When you tour a home during an open house, pay attention to the way the house smells. If you smell mildew or a musty odor, mold may be lurking on or in the floors or walls.
More pleasant aromas may also be a sign of a problem. If every room smells as if it was doused in air freshener, you may encounter a few unpleasant surprises if you buy the home. In fact, those floral scents may be covering up a mold or sewage issue.
Although water damage isn’t always obvious, there may be a few noticeable signs, such as brown stains on walls and ceilings, green or black mold on walls and floors, damp spots inside sink cabinets or around the water heater, or the presence of multiple dehumidifiers.
Electrical, plumbing, sewer, and heating and air-conditioning repairs and replacements aren’t cheap. During your visit to the home, ask when these systems and the roof were last replaced. Make sure that the house doesn’t contain outdated knob-and-tube wiring or fuses.
Flush toilets, turn on taps, open and close doors and windows, and turn on lights during your visit. If the home comes with a warranty, check to see if it fully covers the replacement and repair of high-cost systems and items.
You can make changes to your home, but you can’t change the neighborhood. Consider these factors before you even enter the house:
- Noise: How quiet is the street? Does the home back up to a busy road? How much distance is there between you and your neighbors’ homes?
- Aesthetics: Are the other homes in good condition? Are the streets, sidewalks and street lights in good repair? Does the home have good curb appeal? What about the garage? Does it detract from the front of the home, or is it out of sight at the side of the house?
- Convenience: How close is the home to stores, public transportation and major highways? Is there a safe bus stop nearby if your children will be attending area schools?
Are you shopping for a new house but haven’t quite found the features you want in older homes? Consider buying one of the brand new homes at Country Classics at Hillsborough. The four-bedroom, 2.5 bath executive homes are designed with your needs and wants in mind. Chef’s kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances, large family and master bedrooms, and options that allow you to expand your living space make these homes worth seeing. Contact us to learn how you can purchase a home during our final phase.
Realtor.com: Open House Red Flags
Trulia: What to Look for at an Open House
Redfin: What to Look for on a Home Tour