What to Look For During a Home Tour

2022-02-22 | 08:09:31

So! You think you’ve found your dream home, and you can’t wait to check it out in person. Before you go, here are a few things that are important to look out for during a home tour:

  • Odor: Unusual smells can indicate problems, especially mold or mildew issues.  (Also, if looking at a home outside the city, you might want to check out Google Maps to see if you're downwind from a farm!  Even if a farm is growing crops (as opposed to raising animals), there are times throughout the year when those crops need to be - ahem - fertilized...)
  • Plumbing and Electrical: Check water pressure as well as electrical systems to ensure there are no coroded or exposed wires, properly functioning HVAC, sealed water heater, etc.
  • Noise: This is one that homebuyers can often overlook, but it is important to consider the noise within the house as well as how loud the street and neighbourhood are to ensure they are suitable for you before committing.  (In the case of Greater Ottawa, remember that there are four approach/departure routes in and out of the International Airport; is the home underneath one of them?)
  • Home Layout: Whether or not the layout and function of the home suits your needs.
  • Number of Rooms: How many bathrooms and bedrooms does the house have? Is that suitable for your needs?
  • Wall and Flooring Condition: What is the condition of the walls and floors? Defects such as warping, cracks, watermarks, etc., can be indicative of larger issues.
  • "Unofficial" Additions or Updates: On occasion, you might go to view a home that was listed as having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, only to find that it actually has an extra bathroom! As great as this might be for your needs, you'll want to double-check that the addition was done "by the book" (ie, with a building permit from the municipality).  DIY renovations can create major issues when it comes to insurance coverage (especially when it comes to electrical) and potential structural headaches if not done properly.

Remember, things like furniture, decor, wall or floor treatments, and hardware or other fixtures are easily updated and not important when viewing a home as they can be changed if the rest of the home suits your needs.  (In fact, some such upgrades can be built into your financing - email me for details!)

In addition to these items to keep an eye out for, there are also a few specific questions you should be asking your realtor, including: deadline for offers, number of offers that have been made, why the sellers are moving, any concerns they may have, whether or not there is a homeowner association with fees, and how old the home is.