If you’re trying to navigate booking multiple house showings into your day and attempting to keep your options open, it can be very easy to prioritize house hunting based on your convenience and overlook the effect of the time of day on your house hunting process. Such a seemingly small oversight can have all kinds of consequences on your prospective property, the biggest of which being your neighbor situation.
This is integral to your process because you’re not just buying a property, you’re also buying its surroundings, the people around you, and the dynamics of the community and landmarks around you. The important thing here is that while you can fix your home, you can’t fix your neighborhood.
It’s recommended to thoroughly inspect your prospective neighborhoods by observing the outside of the house you are interested in a minimum of 30 minutes at different parts of the day. By doing so, you’ll soon become aware of things you would have never noticed in your initial showing, such as neighbors with barking dogs, the average speed of passing vehicles on your street, the behavior of neighbors at night versus the day, and so on.
It is important here to not just take note of what you don’t want in a potential new neighborhood, but to also visualize what you’d like to see from a neighborhood. If you’re a new parent, you might want to look for other kids playing in yards and being active. If you’re living by yourself and working late hours, you’d be better off looking for neighborhoods more private and tranquil. No matter the case, it could even benefit you to knock on some doors and talk to people living in the area for their own assessment of the neighborhood.
The Outside Foundation
Most new homebuyers make the costly mistake of focusing on what’s on the inside of a house and neglecting what’s on the outside. Signs of wear like cracked concrete and stucco might seem harmless and depending on the age of the home you may be told that it’s a normal symptom that reflects the home’s age. However, cracks in the foundation of a property ultimately welcome moisture penetration and weathering especially in areas with colder climates. If it goes unmentioned, try to be on the safe side and hire a contractor to assess the cost of repair. This can be used as leverage in your negotiation process.
It’s also important to assess soil levels, and keep an eye out for potential slopes and angles of concrete surrounding the property. Depending on when you go and see your property, it’s likely that you won’t be able to see water-pooling and signs of flooding until it’s too late.
A practical remedy for a situation like this is to arrange your showings on days after it rains. This obviously applies more to places where rain is more of a factor, but it could be a crucial mistake to see a home on a day with good weather and then find out the hard way that your dream property isn’t built to hold up in rainy conditions.
Often times when viewing a home, it is easy to fall in the trap of being overly impressed by simple cosmetic things. Fresh paint, new carpets, and stainless steel appliances tend to catch our eye and make us believe a property is newly maintained, however these can be tell-tale signs of a buy-and-flip home, and you being on the wrong end of it.
Think about it: it’s much easier to invest a couple thousand dollars in minor aesthetic changes and cosmetic tweaks than it is to put money into more hidden, yet more serious problems with the property. This is common practice for investors who are looking to flip houses quickly and see a return, and it is easy to be fooled by their skill at spit-shining a very problematic property.