7 Things You Shouldn’t Ignore When Home Shopping

Couple viewing a house

Post from MilitaryByOwner

After touring the seemingly picture-perfect home, my husband and I walked into the tiny kitchen to view it once more. I can make this work, I thought. After all, we loved everything else about the house. Would what my grandfather used to refer to as a “one-butt kitchen” (a kitchen where only one person could fit at a time) really make that big of a difference?

Turning to look at our four small children, reality struck. A good deal of my time each day was spent prepping lunches and cooking dinner for our crew. And while the charmingly named “galley kitchen” was compact and efficient, it was not a good idea for our family of six. We moved on with our house hunting.

As PCS season gears up, military families are on the hunt for homes to rent or buy. And sometimes, the art of compromise is such that we can overlook things that aren’t ideal for the greater good of getting our families into a home, including a dollhouse-sized kitchen. But in other instances, it’s not wise — and could even be dangerous — to overlook certain issues when looking for a home.

1) A Plethora of Scents

When you walk into a potential home, are you overpowered by scented candles and air fresheners? There may be a reason why. The landlord or home seller may be trying to mask pet urine odors, musty smells, or something worse, like the presence of mold.

2) Cover-up Home Decor

Is there a strange arrangement of small area rugs or signs of a haphazard paint job? Explore further to determine if these are covering up bigger issues such as water stains, termite damage, or cracks.

3) Closed Doors

Check every nook and cranny before deciding on a property, to include basements, storage areas, and utility closets. If you encounter locked doors that can’t be opened and you’re interested in the home, arrange for a time to come back when keys are available.

4) Signs of Poor Upkeep

Do you spy plants sprouting in the gutters? Has the yard seen better days? While outdated appliances or cosmetic issues such as older carpeting don’t mean you should automatically pass over a house, if it’s obvious the home hasn’t been regularly maintained, you’ll need to wonder about other underlying problems.

5) Sheds or Storage Buildings

If these are included on the property, take a look inside. Check for damage, belongings left behind, and pest issues — including termites in wooden structures, as these can migrate into the home.

6) Other Homes in the Neighborhood

Drive through the neighborhood at different times of day to get an overall feel for the community. And then take notice of the houses around the immediate area. Are there numerous homes for sale or empty houses nearby? You’ll want to find out the reason why.

7) A Home Inspection

If you’re buying a home, it’s crucial that you don’t forego the home inspection. This can uncover deeper issues having to do with plumbing, faulty wiring, structural problems, and more. And if issues that need repairs are revealed, you’ll need to decide whether you want to move forward with the home purchase or renegotiate the contract for any outstanding problems.

While it’s natural to want to get into a house quickly and get your family settled after PCS, taking the time to look for deeper issues is important — whether you’re renting or buying a home.

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