As you all may know, right now, we only do long distance investing. I currently live in NYC but invest with partners in Binghamton, NY and Philadelphia, PA. Because of this, we rely on and work with a good network of locals in both cities to help us build our business. We are currently looking to grow our Binghamton portfolio and today, we have our Property Supervisor going to check out a potential new property! Before he headed over, he requested a detailed list of questions, photos, and things he should look out for. Which got me thinking… we should TOTALLY talk about that on here!
So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk I’M VIEWING A PROPERTY FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHAT SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR…
First and foremost, when looking for a new property, whether it be a personal home or a business investment we should always look at…
Location, location, location. You can always change the home itself, but you cannot change the location (although you can try to fix up the neighborhood, which is what many investors attempt to do!). whether it is your home, or an investment, it is important that the location makes sense!
Okay so on the exterior of the home, we really try to first focus on the big ticket items…
the Roof – One of the first questions we ask is; how old is the roof? And what condition is it in? Replacing a roof (depending on where you live) can be a serious bank account killer. Trust me – we learned the hard way this past fall!
the Windows – Is there moisture around the frames? Are any of the windows cracked?
the Pool (if applicable) – this home in Binghamton randomly has one, so I asked, how that affects the current owner’s insurance costs and water bill on an annual basis.
After that, we can move into the inside of the home…
So we try and really pay attention to….
the Floorplan – Does it align with your purchasing goals? Are you purchasing for you and your family? Or, for tenants? Are those tenants families? College students? Young professionals? These factors can all affect what type of floor plan is right for you.
the Doors – This may seem silly but, do they all open and close? Is the door sticking to the frame? Are the frames tilted? Any of these “symptoms” may be signs that there are underlying foundational issues.
the Floor – You want to check how the floors level out. Are the floors on a slant or uneven? This is another sign of potential structural issues.
the Electrical – I try and flip on/off as many light switches as a I can. Replacing the electrical in the house can be beyond expensive. It is important to try and get a sense for how old the wiring is and if it has recently caused any issues for the current owners / tenants.
the Plumbing – Plumbing is another big ticket item in the event of necessary repairs or replacements. Do the toilets flush properly? Do the faucets turn on? One plumber advised me to pay and have the drains snaked during every home inspection… but lets save that discussion for another LTRE chat.
the Water Heaters – How old are they? You can typically see the date listed on the heater. Rule of thumb, a water heater will typically last you 8-13 years.
the Furnaces – How old are these?! Are they working?! So, furnaces last a lot longer than water heaters but when they decide they are done it is game over. We recently purchased a triplex with furnaces from 1974… NOT a proud moment, but they WERE working and we were having them serviced to make sure all was well. Then in January, “out of nowhere” two of them decided to just stop working within two days of each other. Let’s just say this was an EXPENSIVE “repair”. We had to replace both furnaces instantly as it is the dead of winter and a huge snow storm was approaching.
Moisture – Is there moisture present anywhere in the home? Places to check; around windows, toilets, bathroom walls, under sinks, basement floor, ceilings.
NOW, THIS ALL BEING SAID… there are a TON of other items you may pay attention to! AND, the above items are things you would absolutely find out if you were to make an offer and have an inspection done BUT you can also figure out from the get go by just thoroughly walking through the property and knowing what to look for! If you figure this out for yourself BEFORE making an offer, you can save people’s time, effort, and YOUR money in the event any of these checklist items make the deal a no go for you. I put together a set checklist for our Property Supervisor to use if anyone would like a copy for their own ventures!
In the meantime, I would LOVE to hear what you all look for when looking for and walking through a new property?! Did we miss anything?! Are we doing too much?!
Feel free to comment on the blog post HEREand let us know what YOU think!
p.s. we are getting more PERSONAL this year and now have a new Instagram handle – check us out at @erin.home.and.realestate
Me! This is based off of my own personal experience