How to Spot the Right (and Wrong) Home
Home buyers experience similar thoughts and feelings upon discovering the right home. It’s a rare combination of gut instinct (without the pressure of a pushy real estate agent) and enough good signs to jump on the deal before another eager buyer snatches it up. The right home can feel so right you hardly need to sleep on it. Everything feels right—and you just can’t wait to sign.
Stumbling upon the wrong house stirs up another set of similar thoughts and feelings. It’s a sinking feeling that an amazing deal is too good to be true. You get what you pay for in real estate and low prices don’t happen without a reason. An extremely low price could be a sign of a questionable history, too many cosmetic fixes, and a bad neighborhood.
The signs of the right and wrong home are often obvious. But for home buyers looking for a little more peace of mind, the real estate agents with Team Rita are here to help you spot the difference.
How to spot the right home
It just feels right.
When does the right home feel right? The moment you walk in the door. (FYI: it could take as long as three seconds). The right house speaks to you, invites you to explore, and gives you that warm, comfortable feeling of belonging. It’s one thing to embrace a house. However, a house that embraces you is a place to call home.
Everything just seems to fit.
The right home feels like the perfect space for your furniture, possessions, and personal style. Can you envision your queen size bed tucked neatly against that accent wall in the master bedroom? Can you picture your Christmas tree nestled beside that living room bay window? Maybe you have a beautiful paint color in mind to dress the walls in the kid’s bedroom. If your imagination starts running wild with picture-perfect ideas, you might be in the right house.
It checks all your (basic) boxes.
Few homebuyers can check every single box on their list. However, take note of any house that meets all your basic requirements. Focus on the number of rooms and amount of space on your must-have list—and stay flexible on your deal-breakers.
For example, a garage could be on your nice-to-have list but a home without a garage could still be the right home for you. (Remember: you could always build a garage further down the road.) Bring your checklist on your home search but try to keep an open mind.
Nothing else compares.
Remember that house you rated an 8 out of 10? Well, that rating can drop to a 2 when you finally stumble across that perfect 10. When you can downgrade the other homes on your list—which suddenly pale in comparison—and you lose the desire to keep visiting homes, consider your search for the right home close to an end.
It’s all you can think about.
Every major decision in life deserves a night to sleep on. However, finding that home you just know is right—with every thought in your mind and every ounce of your being—can leave you itching to sign the mortgage papers right now. When the thought of closing on a house occupies all the space in your conscious mind, maybe you don’t need to sleep on it after all.
How to spot the wrong home
Something seems sketchy.
Beware of the red flags, shady practices, and warning signs that send houses straight to the top of the “wrong home” list. A seller that offers you an incentive to waive an inspection, for example, might be hiding something—big.
Homes without everything in writing—from permits for major structural or electrical work, to reports and records for major additions or renovations, to clean titles listing clear information about the owner—send a not-so-subtle hint for you to walk away.
The price is too low (or too high).
Cheap, legit deals do exist. (A motivated seller, for example, could lower their asking price to fast-track a closing). However, most home prices reflect value.
Problems often lurk beneath the surface of homes priced too low from expensive structural repair issues to zoning challenges to past due property tax bills. Before you close on that killer deal, find out why it’s so cheap. By the same token, beware of a house that seems too expensive, which could signal an overinflated appraisal.
A questionable past.
A history of bad repairs—which can cost you even more to fix further down the road—raises major red flags. (It’s always wise to review the seller’s disclosure packet with a fine-tooth comb.) More signs of a questionable past include irresponsible former inhabitants, crime in the surrounding area (which makes the home harder for you to sell later), and high homeownership turnover. Homes don’t just linger on the market without a reason—so find out what that reason is.
Cosmetic curb appeal.
Looks can be deceiving—especially when curb appeal is built upon quick, cosmetic fixes. Even a home with a gorgeous, immaculate interior can have exterior problems from cracks and tilts to serious foundational issues.
The most dangerous patch job is covering water damage with paint, which can trap moisture in the walls and grow harmful mold. Plus, shortcuts taken on cosmetics often suggest shortcuts taken elsewhere in the house.