Although the primary purpose of a home tour is to determine whether a house will fit your particular preferences and needs, it's also a good time to check if the home has any issues that could negatively impact your enjoyment of the home and your wallet. However, many times, home buyers get caught up in evaluating big issues (e.g. appliance age, roof maintenance) that they completely overlook smaller details that could also pose a problem. Here are three things you also be on the lookout for when doing a home tour.
Types of Trees on the Property
Trees are a valuable asset to a property, because they can help reduce energy bills, provide foodstuffs in the form of fruits and nuts, and generally make the property look great. However, not all trees are beneficial. Some may drain your wallet with all the special care and attention they need, and others can do quite a bit of destructive damage to the property itself.
For example, the silver maple tree has fast growing roots that can break plumbing pipes with very little trouble. This tree's brittle branches also easily snap off when it's windy, which may result in damage to your (or your neighbor's) home if the tree is planted close enough to it. Another tree, the black walnut, releases a chemical that can hurt tomato, potato, and pepper plants.
Thus, it's a good idea to ask about the type of trees on the property and research their pros and cons. This way, you'll be prepared for any challenges the flora may pose.
Any Attractive Nuisances
A second thing you should look out for are any attractive nuisances on the property. An attractive nuisance is any hazard on the property that children may find fascinating enough to cause them to trespass on the property to interact with it. Swimming pools are common attractive nuisances, but trees, playground equipment, and wells also fit into this category.
It's important to make note of anything like this on the property, because you'll need to take steps to reduce access to the hazards. Otherwise, you'll be opening yourself up to a lawsuit if a child is hurt by the hazard, even if the kids entered your property without permission to play with it.
In the Georgia case Gregory v. Johnson, for example, the plaintiff sued the defendants because their child drowned in a swimming pool on their property. The pool didn't have a fence around it, so it was readily accessible to anyone who entered the property. The court ruled the defendants had an obligation to secure the pool in such a way as to prevent children from getting near it without adult supervision.
The presence of attractive nuisances on the property means you'll need to spend money securing them, so you'll need to account for that when negotiating the sale price and/or determining how much it will cost to maintain the property.
The View Inside the Windows
Having a home with a beautiful view can make living there more enjoyable. However, it's equally important to determine where the windows are in the home and who can see inside them. For instance, if your bedroom has a window that faces the neighbor's home, there's a good possibility your neighbor can also see inside your bedroom when the curtains are open.
As you can imagine, window positioning can affect your privacy. If you want to keep people from snooping into your business, you'll need to take steps to secure your windows. It can be anything from making sure you put up window treatments to frosting the window glass to obscure outsiders' view.
To learn more about these issues or get help shopping for a new home, contact a real estate agent.