House hunting can often feel stressful, especially for first-time homebuyers. With the ongoing growth in Northern Nevada, you may find yourself shopping for everything from Victorian homes to brand new builds, and every era in between.  

In addition to wanting to choose the perfect home for its size, age, landscaping, and location, you also want to make sure you’re investigating any potential issues.  

To make it easy, take this house shopping checklist along when viewing a home which includes time-honored tips for buyers, and the most important questions to ask.

9 Things You Must Do During Your House Hunt 

1. Run the Water

When it comes to homebuying basics, plumbing is one of the most important components of a house – and one of the costliest if things go wrong.

Flush the toilet to find any backups in the system. Check outside faucets and spigots for any leaks. Turn on the faucets throughout the house to check the water pressure. Besides being annoying during showers, low pressure can indicate problems with the plumbing.

2. Figure Out Storage Needs

Before you begin your search, take inventory of your current storage space and know how much you’d like your next home to include.  

Check out bedroom closets, kitchen cabinetry, pantries, linen closets, and any built-in storage areas. Take a close look to assess how much storage space there is and decide if it’ll meet your needs. You want to make sure there’s enough room for everything you need.

White shelf with woven storage boxes inside and a globe on top.

3. Poke Around the Attic and Basement

Give the basement and attic a thorough investigation. If there are belongings piled against the wall, request they be moved before a second viewing.

Hidden walls and ceilings can conceal water damage, including peeling or discolored paint, rotting wooden accents, or a white, chalky substance on the wall, which indicates water intrusion.

As for the attic, a quick glance should tell you what you need to know. Are there rat droppings? Molding wood? Knob and tube wiring, possible asbestos insulation? Or is it generally clean, even if dusty? Be sure to bring a flashlight.

4. Check the Bones

Don’t settle for superficial. Look for cracks in the foundation and walls. And another word on the basement and attic: Check out exposed interiors for craftsmanship and floors for sagging.

5. Test the Windows and Doors

Open and close each window and door to see if it will need replacement. Be sure to check for drafts too.  

6. Take a Look at the Electrical Box

You don’t need to be an electrician to check out the basics. Is the electrical junction box well organized? Is it exposed? An electrical box should be accessible and sheltered from the elements.

7. Meet the Neighbors

There’s no better way to get a read on the neighborhood than by directly asking the neighbors. Pop by their home and strike up a chat.

It’s a twofer: Not only might you get valuable information about the area — from the noisy bar on the street behind you to eager babysitters on the block. But paying attention to their attitude speaks volumes about your potential relationship with your maybe-neighbors. Do they seem excited to meet you? Or are they standoffish?

8. Be an Amateur Investigator

If anything seems concerning, head to city hall or online using Accela One. If there are additions, pull the permits or get help from your agent. You certainly don’t want to be responsible for tearing out that beautiful porch because the previous owners didn’t comply with the law.

Also, check the certificate of occupancy and any easements — especially if you’re hoping to make any major changes. Both are public records. An easement gives someone the right to use property they don’t own, such as your local government for access to public services.

9. Ask Questions

If your sleuthing finds something concerning, don’t panic. People will sometimes write off a house without digging into it, but there’s usually a perfectly logical, understandable reason.

Say you find a gaping hole in the drywall. It might be a huge red flag — or they might have rambunctious kids they absolutely plan to clean up after.

With any problem, your first step is simple: Ask. 

Find your next home in Northern Nevada using our house shopping checklist. Looking for even more tips and tricks on making the best home choice? Contact a Dickson Realty real estate agent today.