House of Horrors: Things to Look Out for When Viewing a Property

This is a guest post.

Looking for a home

You’ve decided to purchase a new home, you’ve found one that you really love and are considering putting in an offer. However, before you take those next steps, it’s important to consider every aspect besides style, price and square footage. It’s easy to let emotion get in the way of a house purchase, especially if on the surface a property looks to be exactly what you want or if you are desperate to leave your current situation. Keep the following things in mind when viewing a property to ensure you know exactly what you’re choosing to take on.

Get a home inspection

An expert opinion on what work needs to be done and how much it might cost is extremely valuable to have prior to buying a new place. Know what all the defects are, especially ones that involve its foundations, like the dangers of cracks in your wall, of rotating garage walls or even gaps around the windows. If you decide to make an offer, this information can help you negotiate the best price as you will know exactly how much money needs to be put into it to make it structurally sound.

Visit on a few different days and times

At weekends, traffic patterns or neighborhood parking may be a completely different experience than weekdays.  That church or school across the street may seem great now, but at certain times of the day or week, the high number of people flocking to your street may become irritating. Coming by and checking a place out on several different days and times allows for a more accurate understanding of the house and its immediate environment.

Get to know the neighbors

If the opportunity presents itself, approach the neighbors and ask how they like living in the area.  See if you can determine the percentage of owners to renters. People treat buildings they own different than ones they rent, so this is good information to know.

Ask to see the monthly bills

During the summer you may not notice drafty windows that could cause a hefty heating bill in the winter months.  All the beautiful sunlit rooms may draw you in as a buyer in summer but the reality of heating costs if the winters
are cold may either deter you from putting in a bid or raise the point that you may need to replace them at some point in the near future.

Go for a drive and explore the area

Check out the surrounding neighborhood. If there’s late-night bar around the corner, a landfill nearby or the property is in alignment with the flight patterns of a nearby airport, these are things you need to know about to help you decide if you can live with the noise, smells or traffic long term. If a nearby block has some abandoned buildings, know this could impact your home value if you resell and they are still vacant.

Ask for detailed records on home improvements

If they are available, records on previous home projects will let you know what previously damaged areas were, what has been done to fix them and the costs involved. Pay attention to the costs. If they seem too low, chances are inexpensive materials were used or corners were cut so you may have this same problem in the near future if it wasn’t done right the first time.





I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of knowing the neighbors. We knock on each door whenever we’re considering a house and ask the neighbors how they like the neighborhood. Really, we are just checking THEM out. LOL. Also we do drive-bys on Friday and Saturday night to make sure things are quiet and no partying is going on. We’ll also drive through the area at other times to make sure there aren’t issues like barking dogs, etc.

  2. These are great tips! Most of them I didn’t think of when we were looking to purchase a new home. I will know better next time.

  3. I lived right next to a school and I chanced it because cars picked up on my street when I bought it,I was ok because I had a privacy fence, but I lucked out because the summer I moved in, they changed my side to the the bus side only so traffic was still minimal. I lucked out!

  4. Those are good tips. I would add to be sure to visit during or right after a large downpour. You never know how that affects the home until you see it.

  5. We got to spend quite a lot of time in our home before we bought it because we did some work on it to get it to pass inspection. (I don’t recommend this to anyone, because if it had failed we’d have been out all that money!)

  6. Unfortunately some of these ideas only work if it’s a buyers market and not as sellers market. When we purchased our home in the DFW are this past spring, I don’t joke when I say homes were selling in hours. And most inspectors won’t catch really important things anyway. I mean I’d never buy a house without one, but we purchased a home that had no cracks, everything looked fine, the inspector didn’t find anything wrong with it except minor things and after just 2 months of living in it we had to have foundation work done. Buying any home is risky, you never know what will happen after you move in, no matter who tells you it’s a sound purchase 😉

  7. These are great tips. I’m hoping we can eventually buy the rental we are living in because I’ve just fallen in love with it. It has its faults, but they’re nothing too big that would make me not want it.

  8. Great tips, before we bought our home, we drove around the neighborhood, talking to the neighbors, we asked them specific questions to support our fielding.

  9. Visiting multiple times is a great tip. We like to make impromptu appointments.

  10. Great tips. Neighbors are a big thing for me. I have kids so I want to do my best to make sure the people around us are decent people