Specialized Buyers Agent Answers Real Estate Questions
Q. I am using a buyer’s agent to look for a new home. She is very picky about the houses we go to see. Do you think that is OK? Shouldn’t I see everything? M. Barnes, Villanova, PA
A. That is a very good question. Should you see everything? I guess it depends on why you are using an agent. A good buyer’s agent will help you look for the right house and focus on things that really matter—not the paint colors, fancy decorating and shiny new appliances. If you just want someone to unlock the doors and let you look, then maybe go see everything. I like to screen the bad houses and explain why (on a busy road, too close to commercial district, not a good school system, etc.) For the ones we do go to see, I have a lot to say, such as:
I think curb appeal is over rated and I like to remind my buyers that you can fix a lot of curb appeal issues with paint and landscaping. More important factors are the location of the home on the lot—is it on a downhill or uphill slope– the direction it faces, how you enter the home and how low maintenance the exterior is. Other things to look for are the age of the roof and windows (expensive and overlooked costs of a new home) and what exterior space the home offers—a deck or patio or porch. These add value.
I always take my buyers to the kitchen first. Forget the granite counters for now. First look at how much light gets into the kitchen and where the user faces—it is out into the room or a window or will you be looking into a wall? Is there a pantry? Is there room to eat either at a counter or at a table? Last but not least, look at the cabinets, counters and appliances.
Always check the basement. Do the sniff test for water issues—it is the best way to know if there has been a problem. If the laundry is here, is it pleasant enough to want to go there? Look at the heating system for general condition. Read any maintenance records. See how neat the electric panel looks—sure sign of a good electrician.
REST OF HOUSE
It is the exterior, kitchen and basement that contain the biggest money items. The remainder of the house should be attractive, functional in layout, have adequate storage and appear to have been well maintained (look for calked tubs, clean fireplaces, etc.).