Here are some things that we always look for when we show a house.
Is the house on a downhill or uphill slope? Downhill can present drainage issues and uphill can make winter access difficult.
Do most of the rooms in the house face south or east?
Can you get into the house from the garage?
Is the entrance covered? Imagine bringing groceries in.
Look at the roof from the curb and again up close. How old does it look? Is there a ridge vent?
How appealing and low maintenance is the landscaping?
Are the driveway and walkways maintained?
Check out the exterior finish. Is it low maintenance like brick, stone, stucco or siding?
Are the soffits and windows capped and maintenance free?
How new are the windows?
What exterior “rooms” does the house have? Patio? Deck? Porch?
How old does any outside HVAC unit look?
Look at the kitchen first. How new are the appliances?
What are the counters made of?
How attractive are the cabinets?
Do they go all the way to the ceiling?
Is there a pantry?
Is there room to eat either at a counter or at a table?
How much light gets into the kitchen and can you see out of a window from the sink?
Check basements first for evidence of water—lines on the walls or everything sitting up off the floor. Do the sniff test—it is the best way to know if there has been a problem.
Is there a sump pump with a French drain?
If the laundry is here, is it pleasant?
Is there a sink?
Generally, is it finished or unfinished? How well? Ceiling panels or drywall?
Next look at the heating system. Type? How old does it look? Read any maintenance records.
What is the size and age of the water heater?
Is there an oil tank? Is it in the basement or underground outside? How old does it look? Any leaks underneath?
How new and neat does the electric panel appear?
Is there any access to the outside from the basement? Windows?
Here you should see adequate insulation, check any HVAC units and notice any roof leaks.
Does the bath have the necessary tub or tub and shower combination for your use?
How high are the vanities?
Tile or plastic tubs and surrounds?
Rest of the House
Look for signs of maintenance having been done properly—caulked tubs, downspout extensions, painted garages and closets—not because you need these things but they indicate a level of care that you want
Consider the storage—where will you keep winter coats and the vacuum cleaner?
Finally, and maybe most important: Does it “feel like home” to you?