We thought we’d put some handy tips for you when you are starting a home search or trying to get a clue about what your home is worth:
- Location Location Location — this oldy but goody is even more true in this competitive market. Is the home on a busy or quiet street? Is it in a good school district or one with poor performance? Are there special assessments in the area? Are there views of lovely neighbors or does the guy next door park his cars on the lawn?
- A Home is More than A Box with Windows — how’s the curb appeal? Is the home appropriately proportioned? Do the architectural features blend in a similar style or is there style confusion (for example Spanish tile on French colonial Mansard roofs, or Craftsman windows on a Mid-Century Modern) going on?
- How’s the landscaping? Is it tidy and neat or does it look neglected?
- How’s the streetscape? What kind of cars are parked around — late models or old clunkers? Is the street crowded or are there plenty of places to park?
- Look Up! Check out the roof — is it rich looking, with multi-dimentional shadows (a sign of more expensive shingles) or does it look like it has seen better days? Are there missing or curling shingles? Moss? Obvious patches?
- Inside, is the house light and airy or dark and dingy? (And be sure it is the house and not just ugly drapes that makes it dark — you can always change the drapes!) Is the paint fresh everywhere or only one room? If only one, beware — they may be covering something up!
- Floorplan is second only to location. Does the floorplan make sense? Do you have to go through rooms to get to other rooms? Are there rooms that could be used for multiple, flexible purposes? Are there enough baths and are they conveniently located?
- Check out the storage — the best homes have storage tucked away EVERYWHERE! You’ll be happier living there and you’ll have an easier time selling later.
- Square things up — are the doorjambs and windows square to themselves and the ground? If you feel at all disoriented, it may be because the house is out of plumb — this could be a serious foundation issue. For older homes, carry a marble with you — if it rolls across the floor, there is some big time settlement going on.
- Go at all times of the day and week. The quiet neighborhood during the week might have a punk rock band in the garage every weekend, or the neighbors’ dog may bark all night.
- Pervert alert! Be sure to check Megan’s law database (http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov) to be sure there’s not a creep in the area if you have children.
- Feel the Feng Shui. Does the house seem to have the right energy for you? Do you feel like you want to move right in? Does the location of doors and windows and stairs feel homey to you?
You WILL feel nervous. This is huge decision. Make sure to have a knowledgable professional such as Lauren or Eliana with you to protect your investment and your lifestyle.