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The process of finding the perfect home usually has many steps. Once you’ve determined how much house you can afford, you can look seriously at the options. While some things may be obvious right away, such as a broken window, others require you to pay a little more attention. Here are four specifics to check when you walk through a prospective home.

Electricity & Appliances

As you walk through the home, it’s a good idea to check that all the light switches, heating and cooling systems, and appliances turn on and off. This includes the plumbing — try out all faucets and flush all toilets. A home inspector should check the electric panel and test the house’s wiring. It may seem obvious that everything works, but this is not always the case. A broken appliance, requiring repairs or replacement, can be expensive.

Water Damage

Whether it be a result of moving or from moisture exposure, water damage issues in a home are important to recognize early. A history of water damage can lead to mold and/or cause insurance providers to raise premiums.

Roof Life

Replacing a roof can be costly and time consuming, so it’s a good idea to get as much information about the roof’s history as possible. It is often wise to have a certified roofer look at the property before fully committing to buying the home as is. An older home may come with an older roof, and that doesn’t mean you should necessarily rule it out, but it is something you will want to factor into your offer.

The Grounds

In addition to looking carefully at the inside of the house, it’s important to look at the exterior. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what belongs to the home you are looking at and what belongs to neighbors. This includes fencing, landscape elements and any exterior buildings, like sheds or garages.

It’s a good idea to get as much information as you can about a home you are interested in. The real estate agents involved and the previous owner can be great sources, but it’s important to think of the right questions to ask and features to focus on. The goal is to find an affordable home that meets all of your needs with the fewest surprises.

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