Things you can see, smell, or hear in a virtual tour
Photos are designed to make a home look great. It’s really important to actually visit properties to see how they compare to the photos. Some homes that look boring area really hidden gems in person. Others may look amazing in the photos which didn’t include the undesirable angles or rooms. Here is a quick guide on how to check out the exterior of a property when driving or walking by. Be sure not to trespass or bother the homeowner with a request to walk around. Contact me if you want to see everything.
Look at all four corners of the lot
Google Street View can provide photos of the neighborhood but those images might not be current. They may not show improvements or changes like a new fence.
The neighbors’ houses
Having friendly and helpful neighbors is a wonderful thing—but not if they’re too close for comfort. Consider the lot widths and ask yourself if there is enough space between the houses for privacy, noise abatement, and nuisances like smoke from gas grills. Would you need to “time share” backyard space or can you use it all the time.
What are the main features of the neighbourhood? Outdoor features, both good and undesireable, affect the value of a property. Positive influences include heat pumps, fenced yards, and outbuildings. A garden shed, garage, or pool house can increase the value of the property.
Gorgeous landscaping is beautiful, but you might need more than a green thumb to keep it that way. If you’re moving from a condo to a house, it’s good to remember that existing trees, flower beds, and shrubs will require weekly maintenance. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, hiring a gardener may be an option.
Walkways and driveways
Maintenance and snow removal are the two biggest expenses for driveways and walkways. The Columbia Valley receives a lot of snow in the winter. Is a snow blower in your budget? Would you need to pay for snow removal?
Is the yard suitable for your needs. A gardener will require some topsoil to be present while a family keen on sports may prefer a broad, flat yard. Can you see water pooling in the yard or does it appear to be well-drained?
Decks require annual maintenance to preserve the wood, if that is the main construction material. Regular staining and/or painting is needed for maximum life. Have the owners maintained their decks and porches properly? Are they sagging or is the paint peeling? Replacing a deck can be very expensive so it’s good to know the condition.
All sides of the house
A fresh coat of paint and a new door are just a few curb appeal tricks to attract buyers, but what lies beyond the charming facade? The main deficiencies a home inspector will look for are large foundation cracks, older air conditioning units, and an aging roof. Depending on the severity of the problem, these can be deal breakers for some people.
It’s disappointing to discover after moving in that the town fire siren is located on the next lot. Or, that the neighbour breeds ferocious dogs that lunge at the fence each time you walk by. Visiting in person allows you to gauge the sounds of the neighbourhood to see if you can live in that particular location.
Talk to the neighbours
It might not be a bad idea to knock on a couple of doors and introduce yourself as a potential buyer of the home next door. Ask about things that are important to you. You might ask if there have been any problems in the neighbourhood or what they know about the house that is for sale. If the neighbours love the area and have only good things to say then you will probably have the same experience.
- Visiting in person can be a reality check
- You can see the whole neighbourhood
- What features, positive and negative, did the listing not show?
- Meet the neighbours and ask if they’re happy