Due diligence can pay off in the long run when you’re buying a home.

More and more buyers are waiving their due diligence in today’s market. We strongly recommend you consult with your agent before doing so, but it can be a useful tool to make your offer more attractive. However, this means it’s more important than ever to be thorough when you preview a home. After all, it might be your only chance to look for potential issues. That’s why we wanted to share five factors you should look for when previewing a home:

1. The exterior. Are they taking care of the yard? While that’s just cosmetic, if they take care of the yard, they’re more likely to be doing other routine home maintenance. Check the siding, the roof, and the rain gutters. Do the gutters drain away from the house, and does the ground slope away from the foundation as it should?

2. The foundation. It might be hard to see behind the bushes or the landscaping, but make sure to check it because an uneven or cracked foundation can be very expensive to fix. Another way you can check the foundation is by paying attention to how it feels inside the house. Does it feel like an off-balance funhouse? Do the windows and doors close properly? Also, look for cracks in the stucco as those can be hard to take care of as well.

“You can tell whether or not someone has cared for their home through its condition.”

3. The HVAC system. You need to check the furnace and the cooler. People will ignore the utility room a lot of times because it is boring or they don’t know what they’re looking for, but there are a few easy things to focus on. Look for a service sticker that has the date it was last serviced. You can also look at the manufacturing date to see how old they are. If the utilities are dusty and dirty, that’s a good sign that they haven’t been properly maintained. Also, check for rust around the pipes because that can signal age, excessive use, or hard water.

4. The doors and windows. Take a close look at the seals around these fixtures, and note the type of windows the house has. This can tell you a lot about the foundation, the general quality, and how much heat you might lose through them.

5. The overall cosmetic condition. You can tell whether or not someone has cared for their home through its condition. Is it clean, are there stains in the carpet, and does it smell nice? We’ve been through plenty of old homes that weren’t updated, but you could tell it was well maintained. We’ve also been through a lot of homes that were the exact opposite.

Hopefully, this helps you when you preview your next home. If you have questions about these factors or would like help finding a home, feel free to give us a call. We would love to hear from you.