How to evaluate a house before making an offer?

Home improvements - November 15, 2018

So, picture this: you got offered a great property at a low price. Sounds too good to be true, right? You stroll around, maybe take a few notes, nod along – you’re just glancing at it, and it all seems good. So you sign the papers, happy as can be, wondering how come you stumbled upon this amazing opportunity. You get your keys, prance to your new place with a hop in your step, and it all seems peachy…for a week. Then, you realize the all the electric wires are DIY and unsafe, the basement floods after a rain, the attic hosts a swarm of bats, the pipes are rusty, and the wooden floors are all hiding termites. Isn’t this the nightmare scenario?! This is why you need to evaluate a house before making an offer. You would research movers before committing to them too, right?

You need to take your sweet time evaluating a house. If that means the competitor gets it, well, then the competitor gets it and all the problems it may have. Fixing a house is difficult – especially if you blew all your budget on getting the house to begin with. No matter where your property is, you have to be thorough. You need to inspect a Nashville mansion just as thoroughly as an Old Hickory cottage. There could be a reason people are eager to sell it! And that is exactly why you need to evaluate a house before purchasing it.

A woman panicking at a desk.

Evaluate a house before making an offer – the interior

Of course, while you should always evaluate a house before making an offer, you shouldn’t focus solely on the exterior.  You might be thinking, well, that’s easy, you just have to look if the appliances are good, right? Wrong. While people do focus on kitchens and bathrooms – with good reason – there is something far more important to pay attention to.

And that thing is the big ticket items of the house – the core, really. Things that would be catastrophically expensive to replace. You need to look at the water heater, the gas tank, the wiring, and inspect it thoroughly. Is it old and cracking? What’s the furnace like? Are the fuses deteriorating? Are the pipes rusty? How easy would they be to replace? Of course, everything breaks down eventually, but there is a difference between expiring in twenty years and expiring in two!

Consider these things:

  • Look at the windows. Are they isolated? Are they sealed? Windows that are loose and rickety can really cost you when it comes to the heating bill! And, if you’re relocating to Nashville, the air conditioning bill too!
  • What’s the kitchen like? Will it need upgrades?
  • Can you fit in your home improvement ideas?
  • Will you need to scrape wallpaper or can you paint over it?
  • What’s the bathroom like? Don’t underestimate how good a bathroom is.
  • How do you feel about the interior anyway? It might not matter, but you need to consider your budget for renovating. Do you really want to spend it on kitchen counters?
  • How safe is your neighborhood? How safe is your house? Will you need to splurge on a safety alarm?

You need to write things down if you want to evaluate a house before making an offer.

Evaluate a house before making an offer – the exterior

This is where the big bucks come in, though few people realize it. The exterior really can make or break the house. You need to start with the outside of the house, and then move on to the yard. Because you see, the exterior also has a lot of things that would be expensive to replace – like the roof! A leaky, shoddy roof is a horrifying sight and is certain to cost you thousands of dollars. You need to see if the roof is structurally sound if it needs to be replaced, and if you want to replace it. You can’t ignore the exterior. What about the facade? Is it dusty or is it peeling? Do you need to repaint the house, or can you just wash it?

A paint swatch

Not to mention the yard. Now, no one claims you need to have an immaculate lawn in order to sell a house, but an overgrown jungle just won’t do. Of course, going in the other extreme and having dead grass might even be worse! Now, another thing you need to know upfront is the law regarding your Homeowner association, or HOA – what kind of association is it? Are there rules? Are there fines? It might not seem like an important thing, but if you’re planning to live there for a while, it can snowball. Some homeowner associations have very strict rules, and dealing with them can be a hassle. If you’re moving to Tennessee from out of state, you need to brush up on Tennessee HOA laws to avoid an unpleasant surprise.

The roof deserves special consideration

You might be wondering, why the roof? Well, the thing is, roofs are one of the big-ticket items that can slip under your radar for years. You don’t really pay attention to your roof in your day to day life, right? So, you might not realize what’s happening until it’s too late. This is why it is important to think about your roof and if you need to fix it. If your heating breaks, it’s only an emergency in the winter. If your air conditioner breaks, it’s only an emergency in the summer. If the roof gets damaged, it’s an emergency no matter what. So, look at the shingles, look at the sky-light, and look at the downspouts. Are they broken? Are they bent? You might have to go into the attic to g

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