Buying a new house is an overwhelming experience, we totally understand. It’s a fairly high-stress procedure and you’re trying to make sure everything is perfect before you sign the deal, but you also want to make sure you’re getting in before anyone else snaps it up.
Unfortunately, realtors and landlords often depend on this high-pressure scenario to cause prospective tenants to overlook minor, and sometimes even major, problems with the property. Sometimes they’ll even tell prospective tenants that there’s already an offer on the property, even if there isn’t, just to make the sale go through quicker.
To make sure you’re really getting the house or apartment of your dreams, here are some things you should make sure to check before signing any sort of paperwork:
- Check the Crawlspace: If you’re looking at houses, make sure to do a quick check of the crawlspace under the house. It doesn’t need to be super thorough, but you do want to make sure there’s no mold or standing water that can cause serious structural damage down the road.
- Ask about Carpet: When were the carpets installed? If they aren’t brand new, when were they last cleaned professionally. If they can’t answer, you might want to try to negotiate getting them to hire a professional carpet cleaner to give the house a solid cleaning before you move in.
- Check Plumbing: This is another check that doesn’t need to be super in-depth either, but you should take the time to verify that the plumbing under the sinks and behind the toilets looks properly attached and clean. Make sure it’s not corroded or about to become disconnected or anything like that. If it looks questionable, ask that they have a plumber in to verify that everything is hooked up properly. Water damage can be a very serious issue and it’s best to address any plumbing issues right away.
- Siding and Shingles: This doesn’t necessarily apply for apartments, but for houses, make sure the shingles look new and there aren’t any patches missing. Do the same for siding. Not only does it make your house look unkempt to have broken siding or missing shingles, but it can be another avenue for water to get into places it isn’t supposed to in your home.
- Attic and Basement: For buildings that have attics and basements, it’s always a good idea to give these areas some extra attention when checking out the house. You want to make sure there are no pests making your attic into their home. It’s also wise to make sure there isn’t a bunch of excess moisture in the attic or basement causing mold to grow. Mold should be fairly easy to spot in these situations, but looking for pests might take closer inspection.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it covers a lot of the things that most people forget to fully inspect before signing on a lease or mortgage. Making sure all of these items are in good shape will give you the peace of mind that your new living arrangement isn’t harboring dangerous mold or at high risk for water damage.
Obviously when checking out a new place you should inspect anything and everything you can think of. It’s a major investment and you want to make sure that you’re getting what you want and need out of it. You also want to make sure you’re not getting suckered into buying or renting a place that is at high risk for damage that can be blamed on you as the new tenant.
Use these tips to help you get the place of your dreams and keep one step ahead of the landlords and realtors. Knowledge is your best defense when it comes to checking out a new home. Hopefully you won’t find any problems, but if you do you’ll be glad you took the time to look first.