Fox Around the House

5 nitpicky details to check before you buy a new home

Family in front of home for sale

 (iStock)

When buying a home, most people check up on the big things. Is it big enough?  Is the foundation OK? Does the neighborhood have good schools? But in the rush to close on a dream home, buyers often overlook many of the small details. Before you make an offer, here are some of the things you should check out.

Cell Service

A recent survey found that homeowners care even more about cell reception at home than they do about quality local schools. Many home are plagued by dead zones, or may even be entirely out of the reach of local cell towers. Before you buy a home, make sure to test reception thoroughly by checking your phone as you move about the house. If service is spotty, you can check with your carrier to see if it plans on making upgrades in the area in the near future. However, bad cell service doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Both T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T offer wifi calling, which means your calls will skip the trip to a local cell tower and instead be routed over your wifi network when you’re at home.

Internet Service

Just because you are used to getting blazing Internet at your current place, it doesn’t mean you next home will get the same level of service. Internet speeds are largely a neighborhood affair and you might find yourself taking a hit in terms of service quality at your next house. In the worst case scenario, you might find yourself without service altogether. Before you move in, call up the Internet service provider and see what you can expect.

Bad Water Pressure

After a hard day of moving boxes and furniture into your new home, it’s time to hit the showers. But that’s when you discover that the place isn’t capable of delivering more than a light drizzle. Or maybe the water pressure is powerful enough until someone flushes a toilet somewhere in the house, putting your shower on pause. Poor water pressure can be caused by a number of things in the home. The faucet or pipes could be clogged, causing localized problems with some taps. Or the water regulator could be set improperly, causing a problem across the entire home. Some of these are cheap and easy fixes, while others will require an expensive visit from a plumber. Before you buy a home, make sure to test out the water pressure of every faucet. If it’s lacking anywhere in the home, bring it up with your house inspector to find out if you’re in for a cheap or expensive repair job. 

Light Quality

Little do you realize, that sun-soaked kitchen you fell in love with is actually cast in shadow for all but an hour each day. A savvy real estate agent will try to schedule showings when the home is in its best light. Of course, it’s not just the quality of light that you need to worry about. Does rush hour traffic become intolerably loud in the evening? Is the street poorly lit at night, creating a safety hazard for your kids? Will your commute be a lot worse than you thought? If you are able, make several visits to your prospective home in order to check it out at various times of day.

Talk to the Neighbors

It can be a bit intimidating to knock on a stranger’s door and introduce yourself, but by talking a few minutes to meet the neighbors, you can learn a lot about the property and the surrounding neighborhood. The first thing you’ll learn is whether or not the neighbors are friendly. Bad neighbors might not be a deal breaker, but it is something to consider before you move in. If the neighbors are helpful, they can alert you to potential problems, like frequent sewage backups in the neighborhood. They can also give you helpful tips, like which parks are the best for the kids to play at. Not only can you get a lot of great info, you’ll also give yourself a head start on making friends if you decide to buy the place.