buying your first home - what you should know

Four Subtle Things to Look for When Viewing a House for Sale

When you visit a house for sale, there are so many things to take in all at once. You want to make note of the number of bedrooms, whether the basement is damp, and whether the windows and roof are in good shape. In the whirlwind of tasks and emotions, it's easy to overlook these less-obvious things you should be looking for when viewing a home.

Which way does the home face? 

A home that faces south will get more sunlight during the day than one that's facing north. This may not be so important if you're house hunting in a place that's warm and sunny all year long -- like Hawaii -- but it's definitely important in locations that have cold winters. Your heating bills will be higher in a north-facing home because there's not so much warm sunlight streaming in. Plus, a north-facing home may seem darker and more depressing in the winter due to this lack of light.

Is the home really that beautiful, or are you falling in love with the staging furniture?

If a home has been staged, or on other words, filled with furnishings and decor to make it look more appealing, make sure you're not being drawn in by the furniture. Look past the pretty sofas and beds to make sure you find the actual home appealing. Do you actually like that tile or is it just well-hidden by the dining room table? Would the living room look so spacious if it didn't have a tiny sofa?

Are there enough outlets and is the electrical system up-to-date?

This is especially important to consider when you're looking at an older home. Just because the electrical system is safe does not mean it's ideal. Take a look at the breaker box and make sure there are still a few extra circuits in case you want to add appliances. Also, make sure there are plenty of outlets and that they've been upgraded to the three-pronged design so you can use them with modern electronics.

How noise-proof is the home?

Pay attention to whether you can hear the traffic in the nearby street, kids playing next door, etc. If the home seems noisy, check to see if any windows are open, and then see if the sound is less obvious when they're closed. You would not want to buy a beautiful home only to find that you can hear every little sound outside, making it tough to sleep at night.