Things to look for before making an offer

Found the right home? Once you have narrowed properties down to the one you want, there are a few steps you should take before putting in an offer. 

If possible, go back for another visit. This will allow you to do a little more investigating before you place an offer. Here are a few things to look for.

How old are the windows?

While most home owners are happy to share the age of their windows, many are not actually sure or may have the wrong info. But don’t worry, you can figure this out on your own. If you look at the window, the date stamp is going to be in one of two places; either etched onto the exterior of the window or stamped on the metal insert trim inside the window. If your eyesight is as bad as mine, I suggest snapping a quick picture so that  you can blow it up and see the date clearly. 

What’s under the carpet?

Most people are now preferring carpet-free homes for both design and cleanliness. If you are looking at a home that still has a carpet it is good to know what is underneath so that you can prepare for future costs. The easiest way to do this is to lift up the register and peek underneath the edge of the carpet. This will usually give you a pretty good idea of what you are dealing with.

Is the electrical up to date?

It is important to make sure that the electrical in the home you are purchasing is up to date or budget for needed updates. Several different electrical methods and types of wiring have been used in home construction over the years. The age of the home and whether it was recently remodelled  can factor into the home’s type of wiring. Additionally, some homes may have several different types of wiring, depending on their renovation history. 

If the home you are considering purchasing has an unfinished basement, you may be able to check for knob and tube wiring yourself, but if not, don’t panic, this is a job for your home inspector.  Knob and tube wiring is widely considered an outdated and dangerous wiring method today. Many people believe that you cannot get insurance if your home still has knob and tube wiring but that is not accurate. Your insurance company will, however, require you to get an ESA inspection done to ensure that all of the ends are pigtailed. You really want to know what the electrical situation is so that you can budget accordingly and alter your purchase offer leaving room for any needed updates.

How old is the roof?

With the roof it is sometimes a little harder to know for sure. You are often at the mercy of the home owners to share the date that the roof was last replaced or repaired. You can, however, get a pretty good look at the roof and see if it needs repair. You can also judge the size and get an estimate if you think it will need work in the near future. 

How old is the HVAC system?

It is fairly easy to snap a picture of the original serial number on the exterior of the air conditioning unit/furnace. You can than go onto Google and find the actual date of the unit. This is very helpful as many home owners are not sure how old it is and often it was already there when they moved in. 

How is the foundation? 

It should be pretty easy to see the foundation type from the mechanical room and from the outside you may see the purging. Sometimes, however, they look like they are in really good condition but someone has skim coated the foundation making it hard to tell. 

Remember that all foundations, even poured concrete, will likely have a crack somewhere. Common concrete does have a lot of moisture in it when it’s poured and when it dries it actually ends up pulling apart. As long as it’s a hairline crack I wouldn’t be too stressed about it. Now, if it is something that has popped and shifted and is at two different heights or it’s a sheared crack then you definitely want expert advice.

Before you completely fall in love with the house and get your heart set on it, take a step back and have a home inspector look at it to make sure that it’s going to be a solid purchase. Your realtor can also use any information gained here to help in price negotiations. 

Ready to take the next step? Reach out to me for up-to-date information on the Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding area markets. I am ready to help you find the perfect home.

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