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When I start viewing homes with Jennifer, what should I be looking for the first time through? The house you choose to call ‘home’ will ultimately play a major part in your life. A house can be a good investment, but more importantly as a home, it should fit with your dreams and desires and have the spaces and features that appeal to you.

Important factors to consider: Will it have enough room for you now and later in the near future? Is the home’s floor plan right for your living ideas? Do you have enough storage space in the house? Will your current furniture work in the house? Are there enough bathrooms for your needs? Is the yard or acreage enough for your outside activities?

Should I bring anything along when I’m looking at homes with Jennifer? Your own paper and pen for note-taking is always a good idea. But you are not allowed to take your own photos of the inside of a house due to personal privacy (unless given permission). Be ready to really look around. Opening drawers, cupboards and closets is an important task to make sure the house has the amenities you want.

Afterwards, what should I tell you about the homes we looked at? Telling Diane or Jennifer what you liked and didn’t like about each house you saw is important. Buying a house to be ‘your’ home is a very emotional choice, and helping us in understanding your desires are key. So don’t be shy in talking about a home’s shortcomings or praising the features of it. Was the home ‘perfect’ for YOU except for the wallpaper? If so let us know that.

How many homes should I look at, with Jennifer, before I make an offer? There is no set number of houses that you should look at before deciding to make an offer. But looking at too many at once can just lead to confusion. That is why providing us, up front, with as many details about the ideal home you want to buy as possible, is so important for her to help focus in on getting you the right place.

What community factors should I think about when I’m deciding where to live? Choosing the community that’s right for you depends on many factors. A few things to look for in a community are good town services, local facilities, shopping, neighborly attitudes, development, planning, weather and economic growth.

Where can I get information about local schools? Diane or Jennifer can help you. They know where the local schools are and can direct you to valuable information about school districts, extracurricular activities and more.

How can I find out what homes are selling for in the area? Jennifer can find out for you what recent homes in the area have sold for that are similar to what you are looking for. And in turn provide to you current market value of local homes so you are not buying a place that is overpriced.

Who Pays the Commission? Normally, the ‘seller’ has signed a listing agreement with the real estate sales person specifying a certain fee to be paid for selling their home.

Your Initial Inspection Checklist

Though a final assessment can be made by an inspection service company, this checklist can serve as a reminder of some things to consider to make wise buying decisions.

Check the foundation, floors, walls and poured concrete. Make sure there's no evidence of water seepage or moisture problems. Minor settling cracks are usually not structurally significant. Make sure there's drainage. If necessary, make sure there's a sump pump for sanitary and foundation draining.

Check to see if the crawl space is dry. Inspection by qualified exterminator is necessary for existing and potential problems related to wood rot and termites.

Check the condition of flooring, whether plank or plywood.

Check for solid construction of bridging and joists.

Check walls, whether drywall or plaster. Make sure there are no water marks. Make sure the attic is sufficiently insulated and ventilated.

Check that the fireplace damper is in working order, and flues to the chimney are clear. On heating and air-conditioning systems, check what minor periodic maintenance is required, such as oil fan motor, lubricate bearings, clean humidifier, replace filters, etc.

Check the hot water system -- type and gallon capacity. How long has the present unit been in service?

Check the electricity to make sure that the standard house current, number of circuits, outlets and fuses or circuit breakers are sufficient for everyday needs, and the condition of wiring is good.

Check for good water pressure throughout house and that the tie-in to local water supply facilities, etc. are all in working order. Bathroom and kitchen fixtures should be in good shape. Make sure the range, refrigerator, dishwater/disposal, laundry facilities, etc. are all in working order.

Check exterior lot and landscaping. Is it properly graded or contoured? Are trees and shrubs sufficient for your needs?

Check that fences, walls, patio and driveway are in good condition. Be sure exterior walls are suitable to weather conditions. Check doors and windows. Are they easy to open and close (or replace) for storm/screen removal or installation? Are the roof, gutters and downspouts in good condition? Is the garage door or opener in good working order? Is there sufficient electrical and heating access in the garage?