Our momstown community is such a great resource for moms in Hamilton. Everyday one of our members is meeting a new milestone in her life and she gets to turn to an entire community for advice and support. This week one of our moms is buying her first house so we were having a chat about what you need to know when buying a home. There were so many great things mentioned that I just had to share here. If you are looking to purchase your first home I hope you find this list of considerations helpful.
- Take pictures of EVERYTHING.
- View the house twice, once in the day, once in the evening.
- Try to get an idea on property taxes and utilities. The house may be in your price range but have high taxes.
- Be careful with fixer uppers. It might seem like a fun project at the time, but can be a nightmare! We will never buy another house that doesn't have "move in ready" in the description! If it does need updating make sure it is functional as it is because you never know how long you might take to get to it.
- Don't get hung up on the small stuff like fixtures, paint/wallpaper or flooring etc. They are all super easy to change and not worth fretting over if you find the house you LOVE.
- Look at the windows, the roof, the eaves, the flooring - these are all big expenses easily missed during a one time walk through.
- Look for cracks in the foundation, water leaks, black mold, musky smells.
- MOVE the furniture away from the walls, or anything that "looks" like it could be "hiding" something. Look high and low.
- Spend some time parked outside of the house, listen for sounds, neighbours, other kids, traffic, school times etc....you may be on a major traffic route, plane path or otherwise....
- Have your kids run though the house yelling, while you stand upstairs and down....see if there are any major echos in your house, they will drive you crazy later.
- If you go to a house and it has carpet but they claim it has hardwood underneath see if there is any way to look under it. When we moved in and ripped the carpet out - it had a HUGE water damage on the floor that is so bad you can't even resurface the original hardwood.
- Check the insulation in the attic and any unfinished areas.
- Do not buy anything on oil or electrical heat.
- Check the wiring - is it to code? This can be expensive to replace later. Some companies won't insure mixed wiring - as in Copper and Aluminum. And if Aluminum wiring (which was done mostly in the mid 70s) you may want to get an electrical safety certificate (for insurance purposes). Knob and tube wiring is bad - any company will tell you it must be replaced. There are many houses that say it was removed but double check that its not just a cosmetic job (kitchen and bathrooms). You want it fully removed. Look for 100amp (or better) and breakers are preferred. Fuses aren't horrible but you want to make sure nothing is over fused.
- Plumbing - galvanized is not good. This type of plumbing would be older and the water pressure isn't good (due to deposit build ups) no one wants them to rupture. You want to look for copper and ABS plumbing. If you run across cast iron - make sure its the waste line only and not a supply line.
- If it was a woodstove or a Wood insert - get a WETT certificate - this will confirm its safe and maintained.
- Make sure your dryer vents are vented properly, otherwise they can cause mold.
- Is the driveway done, fencing, etc....big expenses!
- If you do make an offer, make it conditional, upon inspection, finance etc.
- Ask for appliances, fixtures, drapes, blinds etc. to be included.
- Put in the agreement that they need to do a general sweep up before leaving. You will want to clean your new house but the last thing you want is to come in and have to clean up garbage they've left behind.
- Request two viewings before you close. One mid-way, you may find you want to measure for furniture, blinds, etc., and one right before the close just in case you want to pop in again or need to bring contractor through if you are getting estimates on work you might want done.
- Pay for the building inspection and ask for a full report on the home.
What a fantastic resource we have in our momstown community. This is mom to mom, tried and true advice from real family experiences. I hope the advice listed here helps you find your "happily ever after" home.
momstown Hamilton is a community that provides fun and friendship for moms. If you would like to get connected check us out! A membership is only $45/year - you even get to try us for 4 weeks FREE!! Register here. Remember with every full year momstown membership purchased in 2013 you will receive a BONUS 1 year subscription to Today's Parent magazine.