Carry a checklist when home-hunting in Metro VancouverPosted on August 12th, 2010
If you’re thinking of buying a home, consider using a checklist. After you’ve seen a few homes, you may have trouble remembering the details.
A checklist can help you remember which home had an ensuite bath, which had walk-in closets and which had the appliances included.
You can also include details about the amount of property taxes and maintenance costs associated with each home; and whether the home was close to local amenities such as shopping, schools, parks and medical clinics.
Compiling a home-hunting checklist will help you keep track of the features and the drawbacks of each home you view.
You can develop a checklist yourself that includes space for standard questions such as location, asking price, annual property taxes, mortgage terms and other items that are important to you and your family. Your REALTOR® can help you with this.
Here are some checklist items Royal Pacific Realty Group suggests you consider:
Jot down your impressions of the exterior of the home, noting the lot size and shape, position of the house on the lot (facing north or south, east or west), and whether it has a private or shared driveway. Also note whether it has a large front, side, and backyard and what condition the landscaping is in and whether there are many mature trees and shrubs.
What type of siding does the home have and what kind of shape is it in? Is it a detached home or half of a duplex? How many stories does it have? Don’t forget tojot down whether it has an attached or detached garage and whether it can accommodate one or two cars. Also note whether there is a porch or verandah, storage shed and whether the yard is fenced. How private is the home?
While still outside, take a good look at the roof and note its general condition and age. Check tosee if any roof repairs were made recently.
Once you’ve completed your checklist for the exterior, it’s time tomove indoors. Make a note of the total number of rooms in the home.
Check all windows and note whether they are single pane or thermopane. Do they open and close without sticking? What about the doors? Also make a note of their general condition and whether the locks and latches work.
The kitchen is an essential part of any home, so note its general size and colours, whether it has an eat-in area and sufficient cupboard space. Is there a pantry or food preparation island? What condition are the countertops and sink in? Are the cupboards old or new? What shape is the floor in and what is it made of? Is the existing lighting adequate for carrying out kitchen tasks, as well as dining? Also make sure there are enough outlets torun your appliances. Are the fridge, stove, and dishwasher included with the sale? Are they all operational? Note how many burners the stove has and whether it’s gas or electric.
Once you’ve completed your kitchen checklist, move tothe dining room and note its size, whether it’s separate from the kitchen and the condition of the floors and walls. Are there any built-in cupboards? Is the chandelier being sold with the house? Take similar notes for the living room. Is there a fireplace? How many windows are there and what are their sizes? Do the window coverings stay when the house is sold?
If the home has a family room, note whether it’s closer or adjacent tothe kitchen, if it has access tooutdoors and if it has a fireplace or wood stove. Is the stove CSA approved?
Move on to the bedrooms and note their size and closet space and whether there are any window coverings or adjoining bathrooms. Also note the type of flooring in each bedroom and the colors the rooms are painted.
Make notes on the number and size of bathrooms and the condition of the fixtures. Check all faucets and flush toilets tomake sure they are in good working order and tosee if there is adequate water pressure. Look for signs of mould and deterioration – sometimes these are warning signs of inadequate ventilation.
Next, move to the basement. Note whether it is full or partially finished or unfinished. Is there adequate headroom for moving about? Is there a fireplace or wood-burning stove? Also look for signs of moisture – such as water marks and peeling paint.
Note whether there is a utility area and whether the washer and dryer are being sold with the house. Again, look for signs of water damage.
Find out if any recent renovations have been made tothe home. It’s Also very important toask about the type of heating, water service, plumbing (copper or other) and electrical amperage. Is the hot water heater owned or rented? Is it gas or electric and what is its capacity? What type of insulation is in the house?
Ask your REALTOR® about any details you’re unsure of. By arming yourself with a checklist and finding out all the pertinent information ahead of time, you’ll find the process much more enjoyable and much less daunting.
- What size and shape is the lot? Is it fully serviced with sewage, water, gas and electrical lines?
- How many square feet of living space are there? How many rooms?
- What type of floors are beneath the carpeting?
- Are the room sizes adequate for your needs, including storage and closet space?
- Are the kitchen and bathrooms adequately ventilated?
- Is the kitchen suitable? Are there enough outlets and space for appliances?
- What kind of heat system is used and how much does it cost toheat the house?
- Are there adequate electrical outlets throughout the home?
- Do windows and doors open and close easily?
- What is included in the sale – appliances, etc.?
- Is there sufficient parking? How large is the garage?
- Is a property condition disclosure statement available? This form provides information about the state of the property toall potential buyers.
- What is the zoning on the property, and on surrounding properties? What changes tothe immediate vicinity can be expected?
- Are there any restrictive covenants, i.e., specific limitations on such things as use, occupancy, exterior finish?
- Are there any easements, i.e., rights or privileges one party may have touse the land for a special purpose?
Always hire a professional, certified home inspector who will provide you with a detailed report on the condition of the home.