Last time, we talked about dealbreakers when thrifting. Today, we’re tackling an even bigger subject: homes. Being married to a Real Estate Agent, I get to wander around people’s homes occasionally (totally judging them on their paint selections, over-use of candles to mask cat pee, and weird naked sculptures throughout— WHHHHYYYYY would you ever use high gloss throughout your entire house… and stripes on every surface?!?). We went shopping with a good friend of ours one day (who just so happens enjoys long walks on the beach, Jesus, and crafting– duh, she’s a total babe), and came across some gems.
I’ve even covered a bit of “what to look for when buying a home” here. But here are a few more specifics from what takes a home from “needs some work” to “heeeeeck no, step away, please and thank you.” When on the hunt for an abode, make sure you wear some good sturdy shoes. #butforreal You need to take a walk around the exterior of the house, and possibly even in a shed/ attic/ crawl space and nobody wants to be walking around weeds and thorns and crazy things with flips on. Or maybe that’s just me.
- Things like the yard are cosmetic issues. See this concrete jungle? Purely cosmetic and hours of manual labor to break up the concrete and/or restore it to its glory days (yeah, right. I don’t think this had glory days). For us, though, a pool is a dealbreaker. I don’t want the maintenance, upkeep, and potential dangers for a future heir.
- While you’re traipsing the yard, you’ll want to check out the a/c and/or heating unit. Again, for me, oil fuel is a dealbreaker. Virginia Beach has a few pockets of homes that still use oil heat… I would not be able to handle the up-front costs of filling that tank up. You’ll also want to check out the age and condition of the a/c unit.
- Check out the roof. Replacing a roof can cost a lot of cashmoney. You’ll want to look for wear and tear, but see this guy? You can see a slight bulge in the roof– this could be potential for issues. Not necessarily a dealbreaker, but something to look for.
- Not really lastly, but for this particular post, I’m going to say lastly (for the exterior): check for cracks. Small cracks around windows and doors are normal. This, however, is a big crack. I’d stay clear of this house for this crack alone. It just looks… like a pain.
- Inside the house! Check out the flow of the rooms- some of this can be adjusted by removing a wall or opening up a wall… and some of it can’t. Notice where stairs are. You can’t really move that. Look at the layout of the kitchen. We’re talking major expense to move things around in the kitchen (count on at least $20k for a remodel). Your goal with this first look is to get an overall feel for how the spaces can or would be used.
- Like I said in #5, check out the kitchen. With our house, we were lucky, and didn’t have to move around any of the appliances. And we were able to re-use our cabinets. But still. $10k for our kitchen remodel. Just remember that.
- Bathrooms. These could get expensive as well. This room, for example, would probably have to be gutted and completely redone. Sure, there could be a couple quick fixes if you weren’t able to gut the bathroom before you moved in (namely, remove that nasty door-thing). Just take note of all these things and put it on a mental list.
- Ceilings. If you’re looking at a home that was built in the 80’s or 90’s, there’s a good chance you’ll have popcorn ceilings. These aren’t a big deal at all to remove and fix– just messy and time consuming (but not necessarily expensive). But this drop ceiling thing? This is just weird. I’ve never before in my whole life seen something like this.
- Lighting. You’ll want to see where the lights are (or aren’t) in bedrooms and hallways, specifically. A lot of times, builders can get away with not installing an overhead light in bedrooms– just as long as one of the outlets is wired to the switch, they’re meeting a code of sorts. (Annoying, for sure.)
- Cosmetics. Paint and drywall are cosmetic issues. Pay no attention to those things, although ugly. Holes in walls, such as this? Still not a big issue to me. Patch that sucker up and call it a day.
All in all, pay the most attention to structural issues (including the roof), layout/flow of the home, and systems. That’s where a remodel can really turn in to a money pit.
Also, this room is incredible. I want it.
Hope those were helpful– any other suggestions you can think to add? I’m all ears.
And if you’re in Hampton Roads and are looking to buy (or sell), I KNOW A GUY! Get in touch with him: jgoldman (at) lelandcorp (dot) com