When buying a house, everyone has priorities. The buying process is complex and takes time, and it’s easy to get off track. Having written priorities is a helpful way to guide you through the process without forgetting some of the features that are important to you and your family.
Most of us know that when buying a house, we need to take a close look at the major things like roof condition, plumbing and electrical systems, windows and doors that work properly, and so on. But there are many smaller things potential home buyers need to be on the lookout for – small things that can indicate big problems. Overlooking these small things can wind up costing you thousands later on. To help you out, then, here are 5 tiny details to look for when buying a house in Seattle, WA.
1. Cracks in the Exterior and Foundation
A home’s foundation will crack over time. Knowing the difference between which cracks are OK and which need to be addressed can save your house and your bank account!
When buying a house, many people tend to concentrate too much on the interior and the features they like. But you also need to look carefully at the exterior. “The inside can smell fresh from that wonderful floor varnish and paint, but the exterior could cost you a fortune if you don’t pay attention.”
Buyers should pay particular attention to cracks in the foundation when buying a house. Now many houses (if not most) will have hairline cracks, and these are simply the result of the natural and inevitable settling that occurs. But bigger cracks and gaps indicate much bigger problems, which can be enormously expensive to put right.
If you’re not sure what you should be looking for with respect to cracks, consult a Seattle, WA agent. Just call (206) 578-3438 to find out more.
2. Any Sign of Water Damage
Another of the details to look for when buying a house in Seattle, WA is any sign of water damage, especially those that sellers have tried to hide or cover up. Stain or mold dominated walls and ceilings are always a sign of water damage. The mold growth or stain has an epic center which signifies the origin of the water damage. You can commonly observe this sign near laundry rooms, kitchen, and bathrooms that accounts for major water usage in the house.
For example, concealing water-damaged areas on walls with paint can trap moisture in the walls leading to mold. So be on the lookout for this. In addition, be sure to “[l]ook carefully at the underside of drawers and sinks in the kitchen. Look at the base of the tubs and toilets. One of the biggest culprits is the sheetrock underneath window sills. If you see soft or warped sheetrock, you know there are leaks.”
One telltale sign of water damage you must be aware of when buying a house is a musty odor. Such odors “can indicate water damage, even if you don’t see standing water on the property . . . Check walls and ceilings for water lines; they probably indicate flooding from a leak or a burst pipe that may have caused internal damage. Also, take a peek at exposed piping in basements or laundry rooms, and check for rust, water stains, or leaking.”
And always be on the lookout for “small black or gray spots, [which often] indicate that more serious issues with the property may be lurking. You can also check the caulking around faucets and tubs for black spots, and look for patches on the ceiling.”
3. Indications of Deferred Maintenance
No matter how small, anything that indicates deferred maintenance should be a red flag when you’re buying a house.
Certainly, you should pay attention to such signs as leaks in the roof, decayed siding, and dirty HVAC filters. But there are many tinier details that can be warning signs: “burned-out lightbulbs, long grass, leaky faucets, or faded paint.”
“These signs indicate the seller may have ignored other ongoing home maintenance tasks that can cause real problems down the road. An attentive homeowner is going to flush the water heater annually, change air filters monthly, clean the chimney, inspect the roof for leaks, and regularly recaulk around windows and doors . . . If the seller couldn’t afford the time or money to fix maintenance issues you can see at a cursory glance, just think what your home inspection will reveal.”
4. Too Much Scent
This is one of the tiny details that many buyers overlook when buying a house in Seattle, WA , but they shouldn’t. And that is the presence of too much scent when they view a home.
When the scents are too aggressive, that’s a pretty good indication that “the seller is taking precautions to mask from buyers a more offensive odor. “When there’s too much going on in the scent department – plug-ins, wax warmers, and candles, for example – I wonder what that overkill is hiding,” one top agent says.
Here’s what you should do then: “Take a deep whiff in every room you enter, from bedrooms to basements. Sniff outside, too—it’s hard to fix smells if they’re coming from the neighborhood. Look closely at walls, ceilings, and flooring for signs of pet accidents, mildew, or smoke, before you decide this property is your dream home.”
5. The Temperature
And, believe it or not, when buying a home, you should also be aware of the temperature inside. “This aspect might be overlooked by house buyers. When you’re just visiting a house, and you’re not accustomed to the temperature, it’s easy to look past it. Nevertheless, the temperature is often a concern, especially if the house you buy hasn’t been built recently.”
Any temperature extreme can “indicate appliances that are out of date, malfunctioning, or not working anymore at all. A defective heating system will not be able to warm you up enough during winter if you live in a colder area. In this case, if you end up purchasing the house, you’ll have to spend some additional money on replacements or repairs. And these aren’t cheap. This is the kind of issue [sellers] should fix before selling, but often don’t.”
Why You Need a Seattle, WA Agent When Buying a House
Ultimately, it takes a trained eye and knowledge of what to look for to find everything. Of course, you’ll have an inspection done, but your inspector may not be looking for these tiny details. But your Shoreline.