Whether you are considering buying your first personal residence, or your first investment property, there are a few key things to look for when purchasing a home. They may seem like common sense, but doing your due diligence on each and every property will save you money. Careless mistakes are made every day, and it is better to be prepared and informed than to lose money on a deal.
First, we will explain the things that you must thoroughly inspect on the exterior of a house.
- The roof: Make sure that the roof is in good condition. Roofs can be extremely expensive to fix, and can greatly increase your rehab costs.
- Windows: Windows are one of the biggest selling points on houses today. Potential buyers will be more impressed with double-pane, vinyl windows than single-pane wooden windows. (*Remember, as an investor you want to spend money fixing things that will help sell the house. However, don’t forget that you will not be living in the house, and every item does not have to be up to your standards of living. A big mistake that new investors make is putting too much money into rehabs that they will not get back out once they sell the home. Make your investment property just a little bit better than the other houses on the block so that it will sell. Make it appropriate for the neighborhood.)
- Siding/Wood/Brick: Check if any of this will need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
- Foundation: this is hard to inspect when people are living in the property that you would like to purchase. A good test to see if there are major foundational problems is called “the marble test.” To do this test, stand at one end of the house and put a marble on the floor. If the marble rolls down at an angle rapidly, you know there are major foundational problems, and this property could be more of a challenge than it is worth.
- Landscaping: curb appeal can help to sell a house! (As an investor, you must always consider your exit strategy.)
- Central Air: if the property you are interested in buying has been sitting vacant, make sure to check if the outside central air conditioning unit is still outside. People like to steal these, and you do not want to have to pay to replace this.
- Garage/carport: the size of the garage is a “deal breaker” for some people. If they cannot fit their car inside, they will be unlikely to purchase the home.
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