If you, as a potential buyer, have a genuine interest in an Oakland home, perhaps in Redwood Heights or Rockridge, and intend to view it's Open House, then you should have a list of questions to ask that will give you a real sense of the condition of the home.  This is the time to ask questions and get answers.  Here are some suggestions of things to discover:

1. What Is The Condition of the Floors? You will want to know about the floor condition at every level of the home-top to bottom.  When you enter the home, note the condition of any carpeting.  Is it new, recently clean, or just worn out?  If it is worn out, it may indicate deferred maintenance, which could be reflected elsewhere in the home.  Determine what kind of flooring is beneath the carpeting.  Is it just basic flooring, older, but nicer, parquet flooring, or is the floor covered by carpeting because the wood is old and pet or water stained?  Right now, if new flooring has been put down, inspect it carefully.  There are many versions of new laminate flooring being used, so inquire as to its quality. 

2. What Is The Condition of the Walls?  Most homeowners, in preparing for an Open House, will have painted a lot of their home to give it a clean, fresh, look. If not, then inquire as to the age and type of the paint, if it appears older, to assure that it is not lead based. Check out the quality of a new paint job.  Does it appear to have been done quickly and cheaply?  If so, you are going to have to spend your own funds in the not too distant future to redo that work. If you see recent signs of plastering, find out what was there before the plastering, and what hole or damage it might be covering.  Look for stains on the wall both high and low.  Stains indicate leaks of moisture.  Determine their sources. 

3. What Is The Condition of the Stairs Throughout the Home?  Stairs are a very important structural element to the home.  They are very expensive to replace and repair.  Very often, they reflect the stability of the home.  If they are crooked, cracked or not level, it may indicate that the home is settling, or that there may be foundation issues.  Ask questions about any area of concern.

4. What Is The Condition of the Fireplace?  Many homes in Oakland have fireplaces. They are very desirable by most buyers.  They are also another good indication of the stability of the foundation.  Check the fireplace for cracks, both inside and outside of the home.  If you see cracks, you could have a potential safety hazard on your hands in the future.  Find out of the fireplace actually works. Does it draw well?  Does it leak?  Repairs for these elements can be costly.

While there are pages of lists that can be created as to viewing a home, these four are pretty basic, and will give you a good start as to the condition of the home.


Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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