56 THE QUEENS COURIER • AT HOME • MARCH 15, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
House hunting? Use this handy
checklist before you make the off er
House hunting can feel like an adventurous
new chapter in your life. If you’re
lucky enough to fi nd the property that
checks off all the “must have” boxes -
appearance, size, price, location - it’s easy
to fall in love.
Not so fast. Before making an off er on
any property, it’s smart to take a deeper
look at the overall structure and its systems,
just to make sure warning signs of
major and costly problems are not hiding
in plain sight. If the house holds more
issues than your budget (and drive to
renovate) can handle, it might be best to
Of course, once the off er is accepted, it’s
always a smart idea to hire a third-party
home inspector to take an in-depth look
at the property. In the meantime, one last
pass-through with this checklist in hand
can give you peace of mind about taking
the next step.
Exterior: Walk around all four sides of
the house, scanning it from ground to
rooft op. Note the condition of the doors
and window frames, and look for cracked
or peeling paint or signs of loose siding.
Higher up, eye the chimney, making sure
it appears straight and is in good condition,
while the gutters and drainpipes
should be in place and functional.
Roof: Ideally, the roof would be 10 years
old or less, so scan the roof for the classic
warning signs of aging and neglect.
Th ings like curled and missing shingles,
dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging
can signal serious issues. (A home
inspector can confi rm if full replacement
is needed, or if a few simple repairs would
stabilize things for another decade or so.)
Yard: Take note of the landscaping. Is
there a slope angled away from the house,
or is there a potential for a fl ooded basement
aft er a major rainfall? Mature trees
provide lots of shade, but watch for overhanging
branches, as these can break off
in a storm and do major damage to the
roof. Finally, take note of the condition of
the driveway and sidewalks.
Foundation: Th e sight of a few hairline
cracks in the cement is no cause for panic.
Do look for telltale signs of serious issues,
such as widening cracks, water stains and
bulges. It doesn’t hurt to bring a level to
make sure the walls are straight.
Plumbing: In addition to checking
basement and under-sink pipes for signs
of leaks, scan the ceilings for water stains.
Open all the faucets to check the water
pressure as well as the time it takes for hot
water to reach the tap.
HVAC system: Know the age of the
heating and cooling systems, and check
these for tags and other signs of routine
maintenance. If the system is older than a
decade, that can spell costly repairs and a
replacement in a brief time frame. When
it comes to older systems, energy effi ciency
is another consideration, according
to Tom Tasker, product manager with
Coleman Echelon Variable Capacity residential
“Newer HVAC systems are remarkably
more effi cient when compared to those
from even a decade ago, which means
they keep your house comfortable for as
little as half the cost,” says Tasker.
For example, Coleman’s Echelon products
are rated up to 20 SEER, which
stands for seasonal energy effi ciency ratio.
Compare these to the 10 SEER systems
of 25 years ago, and that can give you an
idea of what to expect in potential energy
costs, he says.
Appliances: Note the age and condition
of things like the refrigerator, oven and
range, washer and dryer, and hot water
heater. As with the HVAC, older appliances
tend to consume more energy and
you’ll face a shorter timeline for needed
repairs and replacements.
Buying a house is a big decision, but
knowing what you’re buying can go a
long way in assuring you that you’ve
found the right place!