Six Things to Look for on a House Tour

What You Will Learn
  • How to determine interior home value
  • How to look for potential home expenses
  • Where to look for foundational issues in the home

In the real estate market, a home inspection is the best way to determine if a property is a good investment. But before a home inspection can be performed, a walk-through on your own or with a realtor is common practice. On a house tour, it’s crucial to keep a keen eye out for certain aspects, both good and bad.

What should you look for on a house tour? As you cruise room to room, here are six things you should pay attention to.

Modern Aesthetics

Whether you’re planning it to be your primary residence, a vacation home, or an income property, broad appeal is important. Are the kitchen and bathroom cabinets modern and in good condition, or worn, dated, and in need of rejuvenation? Does the quality and style of flooring match the rest of the home’s décor?

Look out the front window and survey the neighborhood too. Is the home architecturally relevant in the community or does it stick out? The goal is a home that suits not only your taste but that of future buyers if and when you plan to put it back on the market.

Appliances and Utilities

Most home appliances have a life span of 10 to 15 years at most. How recently were the appliances purchased, and do they fit with the home’s visual cues? Also look at utilities like the hot water tank, furnace, and air conditioning unit. These utilities will need to be replaced at some point, lasting between 6 and 13 years on average.

More permanent utilities should be looked at also such as the electrical panel and plumbing fixtures. Make note of messy wiring and subpanels that could fail an inspection, as well as any plumbing concerns that you’ll need to address.

Functional layout

There are some strange floor plans in homes, often because of custom builds. It can be unusual to have a dining room that isn’t beside a kitchen, for example, or a deck that’s accessed only through the master bedroom. A washroom positioned directly beside a common area could be awkward also.

When you tour a home, it should feel like it flows naturally from room to room rather than make you scratch your head, thinking, “I wonder why they did that?”

Appropriate bedroom sizes

An area that builders often attempt to save costs is in the bedroom, reducing the size and hoping it goes unnoticed. However, bedrooms are where people spend most of their time at home – especially the master bedroom – and spacious bedrooms are a huge selling feature for the added comfort they provide.

Potential foundation issues

As you tour the home, be mindful of areas below grade especially. Note any dampness on the floor or walls, and keep an eye out for mold or mildew on floor joists and in corners. If the basement or crawlspace seems unusually cluttered or the corners are hidden, it could be a sign the homeowner is trying to hide a crack or leak in the foundation.

As well, termites are active across California and many other states. Buckling wood, soft or swollen floors and ceilings, and sawdust are signs that a home could have termite damage.

Immediate repair expenses

House shopping is a fun and exciting time, but remaining objective with imminent issues will help you make a wise decision. Write down any concerns that will need to be fixed for the home to be move-in ready – ill-fitting doors, broken appliances, flooring replacement, extermination, or a full renovation for example.

If the home checks all the boxes on your tour, MBANC can help you secure a mortgage. With options including jumbo loans, 1099-only loans, non-QM DSCR mortgages, and other products geared toward entrepreneurs and investors, we’ll help you finance the home you’ve chosen. 

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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