Good house-hunters aren’t born. They become good after time and practice and study.Here are some basic tips to help turn you into a good house-hunter.
1.Start where Realtors start: What’s a home’s curb appeal? Does the house and yard look neat and well-maintained? The landscaping should be attractive.A nice shade tree on the south or southeast side of the house will make it cooler in the summer.
2.Next to size, the style of the house affects the price and maintenance expenses the most. You might like two-story colonials. But they cost more to heat and cool than a one and half-story Cape Cod with a finished attic, and way more than a single-story ranch. Tudor-style houses, stucco or stone trimmed with lots of wood, usually have slanted roofs that are more likely to develop leaks.
3.A brick or stone exterior with vinly-clad windows rather than wood takes the least maintenance. Double-glazed-or even triple glazed- windows are barrier to outside noise and keep heat in when it’s cold,out when it’s hot. They also don’t require putting up storm windows every fall and taking them down every spring. Wood siding means lots of painting. Vinyle siding doesn’t.
4.A wide lot will make the house easier to sell later than a long lot. A corner lot is most desirable. A house set back from the street will obviously reduce traffic noise. Check the space on both sides of the house unless you don’t mind living on top of your neighbors.
5. The best foundation is poured concrete, but concrete block is okay. If there’s a crawl space under the house, it should have a concrete floor to discourage termites and be high enough to get at wiring and plumbing.
6.Slate or clay-tile roofs last the longest, if not for the life of the house. Asphalt shingles, the most common, typically last 20 years in many areas of the country. Some cities in those regions permit homeowners to simply add another layer of shingles-up to three or four-rather than replace the whole roof down to the wood. Check for any shingles that are warped or missing or tar patches, indicating past leaks. A roof that slants slightly and has a wide over-hang will keep snow off and heat in, but is more prone to leakage.