Once you have made the decision to purchase a home, either in Piedmont or Oakland, you will find yourself touring many homes.  Many times these tours are done before dealing with me as your agent, often to get a sense of what the market is like, and what you may or may not want in your new home.  You will be getting all kinds of information and written material from each home you visit, but there are some very important questions that you should ask yourself each time your tour, so you know, when you are finally ready to decide, what things to consider, and what homes you will reject immediately.
NOTE: You will, in the process of buying a new home, have the opportunity to have a professional home inspection done before you move ahead with your purchase, and I recommend that you do so.  
However, to save time, and narrow down your possible choices, here are some things that you should pay special attention to when you are touring a potential purchase:
1. What Is The Condition of the Floors?  Certainly one of the key elements of a home is its floors.  It tells you a lot about how well the home has been maintained.  Explore from top to bottom.  When you enter, notice the condition of the carpeting.  Is it new, reconditioned, or worn out?  If worn out, it may indicate there might be deferred maintenance elsewhere in the house, or in the flooring underneath the carpeting.  What is the flooring like if there is no carpeting?  There are many versions of newer laminate floorings, so inquire about their level of quality--quick and inexpensive, or well done quality.  Be sure to check the basement floors, or similar locations for leaks, cracks and stains--especially around larger appliances and heating sources.  
2. What Is The Condition of the Walls?   Most homes will have been painted to enhance their appeal, but some will not.  Inquire as to the age of the paint, and whether it might be lead based.  Check out the quality of the paint job.  Does it appear to have been done quickly and cheaply?  If so, it will mean that you are going to have to lay out future funds to redo the work.  Do you see recent signs of plastering?  What might it be covering? Are you seeing stains in the walls, ceilings?  They can indicate leaks and moisture.  Check both the interior and exterior walls.  
3. What Is The Condition of The Stairs?  Many don't realize that the stairs are an important and revealing structural element of a home.  Additionally, they are expensive to replace and repair.  Very often they reflect the stability of the home.  If they are crooked, slanted, not level or cracked, it may indicated that the home is settling, or has foundation issues.  Ask questions if you see questionable issues.  
4. What Is The Condition of the Fireplace?  The fireplace is another good indicator of the stability of the home and its foundation.  If it is cracked, you have a potential hazard on your hands as far as safety is concerned.  Go outside and look at the back of the fireplace to see how it is attached to the building.  Find out if the fireplace works.  Does it draw well, or leak?  This is a potential repair that you can avoid by doing some preliminary investigation.  
In summary, look a bit deeper than initial impressions when touring a home.  It will pay off in the long run.  
Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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