So you are looking at home after home. If you are like the most of us, you are captivated by the updated kitchen, the over-sized shower or the gorgeous perennial garden. Good, you should be. But, (and you know there is a but), don't forget that there is business to attend to.
Here are six things you should pay close attention to in any home that interests you:
1. Roof: Check it out! Does it look new? Are the shingles dried out and lifting? If it is a flat roof, does it have proper drainage? How many layers of asphalt? Ask the age of the roof to help you determine its relative health. Most well installed roofs with quality shingles last 25-35 years depending on the location of the home.
2. Windows: Old or new is not the most important question. The most important question is do they work. Pull a couple up and down to see if they operate well. Look for storms or screens stuck midway between open and closed, a sign that they may not function.
3. Gutters and downspouts: Be sure the house has them and take a look to see if they are snugly attached to the house - beware of hanging downspouts and "gutter gardens" - gutters clogged so long they are actually sprouting vegetation! If the gutters are filling to excess, freezing water and snow may be making its way into the roof of the house.
4. Retaining walls: Funny as it seems, they hide in plain site. Pay attention to retaining walls around gardens, along driveways and on the edge of property lines. Check for major cracking or leaning. These walls can be very costly to replace.
5. Foundation: Give it a close look inside and out. Look for cracks, water marks or mold. Check the basment windows for good repair as well.
6. Landscape: We don't mean the perennial garden here, but the general topography and the plantings. Is the house sitting low on a hill and likely to flood? Are there unhealthy trees on the lot that may need to come down?
Whether you are looking at buying a home in Arlington MA or buying a Cambridge MA condominium, take the time to carefully examine a home you are interested in before you make an offer to buy. It could pay off in the long run!
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