While much of what makes a home the right choice is vague and difficult to quantify, there are a number of objective considerations as well. Review the following items to help determine if a house is right for you.
Review the exterior condition.
Check the roof and siding for signs of excessive wear. Is the paint peeling or chipping? Inspect the windows and doors - are they in good condition? Check the foundation for cracks.
Check out the lot layout and condition.
Is the lot large enough? Is it level and well landscaped? Check the area around the foundation - is the ground sloped away from the house to allow for proper drainage? Does water pool anywhere near the house?
Inspect the basement.
Is the basement dry and free of mildew? Check the basement walls - are they free of cracks and other damage? Is the ceiling high enough to allow you to finish the basement in the future?
Rate the kitchen.
Is the kitchen large enough for your family? Are the cabinets and fixtures attractive and in good condition or are they dated and worn? Is there enough storage space? Is there a laundry room?
Consider the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Are there enough bedrooms in the house? Are they large enough for your needs? Does the house have a sufficient number of bathrooms? Are the bathroom fixtures and vanities modern and in good condition?
Think about room sizes and layout.
Does the home have all of the rooms you want - living room, dining room, family room, study, or library? Are the rooms large enough? Does the house have a nice layout with good traffic flow?
Check out the mechanicals.
Are the heating, plumbing, and electrical systems up-to-date and in good condition? How old are the furnace, hot water heater, and air-conditioning units (if the home has central air)?
Review the interior finishes.
Check out the flooring, interior paint, and wallpaper - are they in good shape or are they old and dingy? Does the home have built-in shelving or other special trim?
Consider the items on your wish list.
Does the home have the features that you have identified as important - fireplace(s), two- or three-car garage, room for expansion, etc.?
Evaluating a Fixer-Upper
If you're considering a home that needs a lot of work, it can be very difficult to get a feel for whether the home is right for you. While many features will be obviously substandard (otherwise it wouldn't be a fixer-upper), it can sometimes be difficult to visualize exactly how the renovation will turn out. It can also be quite tricky to figure out exactly what you can accomplish on your budget. Because of these factors, it is highly advisable to take a much closer look at this type of home. At the very least, you want to have a comprehensive home inspection done.