Hello!!! Stacey Christopherson here with C4 Elite Real Estate Team in Layton, UT. We are continuing our series on 30 Days to Buying a Home in Utah. Today we are going to talk about walking through the houses with your Buyer’s agent. As most Buyer’s do, you probably have been looking at houses on-line and are ready to see them in person. The day of House hunting can be fun. You get to walk through all kinds of different houses that you have been watching online. The list of homes you would like to see has been sent to your agent, and they have set up all the appointments. Today is the day, you are ready to go. Of course, when you walk in the house you have an immediate reaction to the home. Whether it is smell, what you see or how it feels. However, here are six main things that you may also want to consider in each home as you walk through, to help you decide whether to keep those on your list.
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The first thing when you get into the home, you want to get a feel for the layout. How does the flow feel? Does it feel cramped? Do you like the openness or lack of? If you are considering renovating, is that feasible? Do you have enough storage? Furthermore, are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms? Is the home facing the north? South? Does it matter to you? Also, bear in mind, if this is not your forever home, you will want to ensure that the layout is desirable for resale value. Many of our clients are military and may be moving in 2-3 years. If the layout is unique or out of the ordinary, you will want to consider future buyers. Layouts can affect sale-ability.
As you are walking around the home, look down. The condition of the flooring may be a deterrent for you to purchase this home. There are hundreds of types of flooring these days. New carpet is only great is the pad is also new. With that being said, carpet is very easy to replace and make new. If there is real hardwood on the floors, do your research on durability and hardiness. It is very hard to tell which type of hardwood floors are without hiring an expert. However, you can usually tell if it is a laminate or actual hard wood. Additionally, you want to look at the transitions from one flooring to another. Are they appropriate for home? Do not let carpet with bumps in it worry you. In most cases, that can be stretched back out and look like new again. Ask your C4 Elite RE Agent for information on their discounts for flooring. We have business affiliations with flooring companies locally that can keep costs down quite a bit.
Checking for water issues is a bit harder, however, you can see evidence of past or present leaks in drywall, the ceiling and under sinks. Your Home Inspector will be checking the attic and roof for any potential issues. However, if there is a large patch job in the ceiling, you will want your Buyer’s agent to ask some questions. Older homes in Layton, Utah and surrounding areas still have evaporative coolers rather than air conditioning. These units are on the rood and require water to run through them. You will want to check around the interior vent for the evaporative cooler for any visible leaks or problems. Glance under the sinks to check for plumbing leaks. Is there evidence of water? If there is, make a note and your Buyer’s agent will talk to the listing agent about them.
The big-ticket appliances, including the water heater, furnace and air conditioner, are smart to check out briefly. In Utah, the water heater must have earthquake straps and an expansion tank. If these are not installed, you can ask the seller down the road if you decide to write an offer. Also, check for evidence of water below the water heater as it might indicate a leak, A quick glance at the furnace will tell you the approximate age, but you can always find the actual age on the unit. I always look for a “green sticker” which lets me know when/if the furnace has been maintained.
The Air Conditioning units are always outside so make a mental note to look at it when you tour the exterior. Typically, the water here in Utah can be hard. This means you may need or want a water softener, so your clothes do not turn yellow and your skin is not as dry. If the home already has a water softener, the home inspector can check that out as well once you are under contract.
In addition to the big appliances, a quick check of the kitchen appliances is a smart idea too. Many sellers in Utah want to take their refrigerators. However, as a side note, this item appears to be frequently negotiable. The washer and dryer almost always leave the with the seller. The dishwasher, stove, oven, and possibly the fridge, are there to stay. Open the doors briefly and make sure they appear to be in good working order. Again, these items will be fully inspected during the home inspection, however, you want to make sure they are in good condition. You are looking for evidence of rust or damage.
Check the Exterior
Finally, be sure to walk around the exterior of the property. Do you need a fence for your dog? How about the kids? Every house is different with regards to fencing. As you walk around outside, make sure to check condition of the existing fence. If there is not one, have your Buyer’s agent check to see if it is okay to install one. In some Planned Urban Developments (PUD) they are not allowed. These neighborhoods typically have a Home Owners Association (HOA) that governs the rules. You can get a copy of the HOA rules ahead of time to determine fencing guidelines and more.
A few other items to look for when touring the exterior is the grading of the yard. Does it slope toward or away from the house? Tree limbs touching the roof probably need to be trimmed so there is not an issue down the road. Of course, be sure to check the material of the home, whether it is stucco, siding or stone. Winter makes checking the roof a bit harder here in Utah. However, along with the home inspector and a visual check while you are there, you should be able to get a condition of the roof once under contract.
Home Warranty and More
This list may seem overwhelming, especially if you are a First Time Home Buyer. However, your Buyer’s agent is another set of eyes for you. They can and should be looking around at things you may not know to look for. Most issues can be resolved during the process of buying the home. We are masters at negotiation and will do what we can to ensure that when you move into your new home, you feel safe and sound.
The C4 Elite Real Estate Team is partners with a great Home Warranty company in Layton, UT. We will ensure that you are covered the first year, at the sellers’ expense, for any big-ticket items. The home warranty is renewable after the first year and it is smart to continue the coverage. Not all sellers are willing to, or cannot afford to, fix items on your inspection report. So be sure to make a mental note, that home ownership comes with continual maintenance and care. You are purchasing existing homes as-is. Issues will come up so be sure to hire a professional Buyer’s Agent that will put in place all of the protections available,
When you are house hunting, remember you are on a schedule and your agent has made appointments for all of the homes that you want to see. This list is meant as a quick reference, and these items can be briefly done while touring. Your agent should communicate with you about how much time you have in each home. Additionally, they should be able to point out things that you may not know to look for. Home shopping day is so exciting.
Do not forget to call the C4 Elite Real Estate Team for all your home buying needs. The growth here in Layton, Utah is exploding and there are Townhomes for sale in Layton, UT as well as nice existing homes. Call us today with questions and let’s get the party started.