Whether you're a first time home buyer or not here are 5 tips that can help you in your home buying experience
1. Pay attention to areas that aren't eye-level. So you've seen the beautiful, amazing pictures of a house, heck you're basically in love with the house. Well, just as in relationships it's important not to make any major decisions off of a profile photo. Remember that the profile photos are showing the best features of the home and have been taken by somebody who stands to make thousands of dollars off the sale of the home. When you are visiting the house for the first time you are meeting the house's representative. When being shown a house that you may potentially submit an offer on it's important LOOK UP, look around and try things out. Look at corners of windows for cracking. Open and close all doors. Are the doors already open to each bedroom? If so go ahead and close them and open them again to see if there are any issues.
2. Look behind furniture, pictures etc.. if possible. Now obviously when being shown a house, you are not doing an inspection and you are not supposed to move personal items of the seller. That being said, if it is possible look behind the couch. Look along the wall, maybe slide the picture frame over just a little and look behind it. You'd be surprised how many holes get covered up by a picture.
3. Look at the electrical panel. Don't go touching it and all that but look at it. Identify is it a fuse box or an electric panel? If it is a fuse box that is a major problem as far as I'm concerned because it is obsolete for modern usage.
4. Give the siding a poke. If the siding is wood it shouldn't deflect it should feel solid. As home inspectors we often use a screw driver or awl to test for wood rot damage, but as you can see from my picture below, sometimes it's not needed. Yes that's me (Inspector at www.safetulsa.com)and the picture is from an actual inspection. No awl or screw driver needed for this siding, its in terrible shape.
5. Read the home inspection report. Finally if you've submitted an offer, and it's been accepted it is time for you to bring out YOUR professional inspector. The Home Inspector is there for you. He is the only one in the whole transaction (seller, broker, title agency, lender, etc) who doesn't stand to gain financially from the sale of the property and is supposed to be unbiased. A great deal of effort and time is put into the inspection and the report, don't only read the summary. Decide from the report which issues you most want corrected before the sale is finalized. Although our reports are designed to be easy to read, If you have a question about some aspect of the report or wording used just ask the inspector. That's what the home inspector is there for, to help you make an informed decision and purchase your home with confidence.