Evaluating a House

November 20, 2012 in Buyer's Handbook, First Time Home Buyers, Real Estate 411, Seattle Real Estate for Sale

An enchanting new home on a small lot can be a winner if you prioritize home features such as finishes and gourmet kitchen over privacy from passing cars or your neighbors.

A question I am often asked by home buyers is whether or not it is best to buy a new home. There are pros and cons to new homes as well as old. Newer homes are usually easier to maintain and more energy efficient. Older homes generally have lower property taxes and are in more established neighborhoods. On the other hand, older homes are likely to require more repairs and upkeep, and sometimes have different aesthetics about such design features as openness or family living space.  (Please see my recent blog Finding Home in Seattle for a discussion of some of the trade offs that take place when deciding what’s most important to you when establishing the parameters of your search.)

It is best to evaluate each house based on what it has to offer. There are many things to look for when walking through a home, including the following:

* Is there enough space for the present and the future?
* Does it have the desired number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
* Are you happy with the lot size?
* Do you like the floor plan?
* Does it include all of the minimum amenities for your lifestyle?
* How will your furniture fit in the space?
* Is there enough storage space for your needs?
* Is the house structurally sound and well maintained?
* Is the construction quality up to your standards?

As your buyer’s agent I will help point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint. My job is to provide you with the best information on the home and it’s surroundings possible, and point out things that need to be checked on.  Once we sort out the homes that do not interest you, we should

Older home in expensive Ballard neighborhood will have design features of yesteryear, but so will your neighbor’s homes, it becomes a game to meld old and new, all part of the neighborhood ambiance.

consider the details of the ones you like, including the amount of work that needs to be done if you purchase the home (which of course impacts the value). It is best to determine if all of the mechanical systems and appliances work, but in the normal course of the purchase process, this is taken care of by a detailed inspection done after the offer has been made and accepted (called mutual acceptance).  In order to chose which home to offer on, once you are happy with the home details, we should go back to the final contestants for a second look (quickly if the market is moving fast, as it currently is in Seattle, West Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville, not so much in the surrounding cities). This will help us select the perfect home for you. On average, home buyers walk through fifteen houses before selecting one, some more and some less of course.

The more you keep me updated with your needs, the better I can assist you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I can be reached at 206-249-2914, edy@seattlecentric.com.

P.S.  I have a Buyer’s Checklist in PDF form that I sometimes use with my clients as we go thorough a selection of homes, so if that would be useful let me know and I’ll send it to you.  I’ll try to figure out how to offer it as a download from this site :-)