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How to Choose Your Dream House
As the real estate market continues to wobble, home sellers become less and less able to afford the repairs their home needs before selling. Unfortunately, this leaves more repairs for you when you buy. Don't get stuck buying a house that requires more work then you are willing to put into it. Find a home that's right!

Now, there are some obvious features in a home that make it right for you and your family. Other aspects may not be as clear to you on the first walk through. Usually when you walk through a house, you have a feeling of positive or negative. Even if there are crazy paint colors and ugly furnishings, if you like the house, you'll be able to look past those temporary things and see the house for what it is. Is there a way to see house problems on a simple walk through? How do you know if this is a house worth pursuing or one that will be a money pit? It is a wise idea to make note of several areas of the house before getting emotionally attached to the property. This will enable you to move on to another house or continue with the buying process on that one. Here are five easy to assess areas of a house that are usually clear indicators of the overall condition:

1. Foundation:

While this may seem like a no-brainer in an older house or in a house with a history of foundation problems, it is also true of newer homes. Sometimes homeowners or builders will plant trees too near the house and the root system can begin to take over the foundation. Even in newer homes this can be a problem. While a crack here and there doesn't mean the foundation is going bad, you should watch for signs throughout the house. Things like windows not closing correctly, doors getting stuck, and obvious cracks are telltale signs of foundation problems. Experts say that not all cracks in the tile are caused by foundation problems but could be poor quality of tile lying among other things. It should be a red flag though when you are viewing the house.

2. Electrical:

Again, in an older house, most potential buyers will be very cautious about the electrical work but in the newer homes, they won't. It is safe to assume that a newer house has undergone inspections, up-to-date inspections with modern codes and requirements. There is still a possibility that the electrical works and is up to code but is done wrong. Just because something works and passes the building inspections, doesn't mean it is safe for you and your family. You won't be able to see this problem too well in a simple walkthrough but you can flip the switches and try turning on several appliances in the kitchen. If the plugs and switches seem to be older, you may want to have the age of the electrical wiring checked.

3. Plumbing:

Have you ever been in the shower and someone else flushes the toilet? Do you lose water pressure a bit or a lot? Does the water turn freezing cold? While these can be inconveniences, they can be fixed. (A tankless hot water heater can be a smart upgrade) Major plumbing issues can cause major problems! When you walk through a house, check the seals and feel the humidity levels in the bathrooms. Usually your nose will give you a heads up for mold and mildew. The area around the sinks, base of the toilet, tubs, and showers should be caulked to avoid water seeping into the wood and base. If the caulking is bad or nonexistent, you will have mold and mildew in the bathroom. The only way to get rid of it is to rip out the entire sink, tub, shower, or toilet area. Talk about a costly repair, not to mention a big mess!

4. Landscaping:

Homeowners can tend to go overboard on plants and shrubs when they are selling a house. They tend to put in a lot of curb appeal as that is what they are told will help sell the house. While this is true, you need to be wary of plants and trees that are too close to the house. Plants and trees will draw in moisture. This moisture can get into the siding, bricks, and exterior of the house. Yes, even bricks can be damaged from too much water over a long period of time. All it takes is a small shift in the ground and the bricks can have slight cracks, making them vulnerable to moisture making its way into the house. The moisture, roots, and debris from the landscaping can also compromise the foundation, windows, and even the roof. During the dry seasons, the plants will move around trying to find water in the heat, which can cause the foundation to crack. By having a barrier of about one foot between the shrubs and the house, you can still have an exterior with curb appeal but it will be practical and smart.

5. Attic:

How many times have you gone to an open house or a house showing and you skip the attic? You may really like the house so there is an emotional pull that tells your brain to just fix the problems after you buy the house. But don't let those emotions take over until you are sure about the purchase. If the house is in such bad condition that you have to spend money on repairs, you may not be able to make the payments and then where will you be? Resist the urge to feel like you are imposing and ask to see the attic. You can see the roof, insulation, odors, pests, and other issues that can be a big problem if they exist. If the outside roof leaked, you'll e able to tell and then you can begin to learn about the extent of the damage.

Buying a house is a huge investment! Yet, there are too many potential home buyers that become attached to the house before the inspections can be done and run into problems. They may even put down earnest money, which they will lose when they back out of the deal. Don't get into a mess! Your home will need some work throughout the years but you need to have the necessary knowledge about the house to make the best final decision.

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