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Real estate agents love to show homes on nice, bright, sunny days. Even homes that have a few slight defects just seem to look better and attract more traffic during good weather. However, if you’re a prospective home buyer, don’t let nasty weather dissuade you from house hunting – because sometimes bad weather can reveal a lot about a property.
Nobody enjoys going out in rainy weather, but if you’re serious about finding your next dream home, don’t let a few showers hold you back. When it’s rainy, homes that have leaky roofs, poor gutters or drainage issues show their true colors. When you first walk up to the property, keep an eye out for areas of standing water in the yard. This can indicate problems with drainage. Water should be able to flow away from the home’s foundation. If there is standing water or large puddles near the base of the home, that could be a warning sign. Homes without gutters and downspouts often have this problem. Foundation repair is considered one of the most expensive home repairs, so this is definitely not something you want to ignore. Once inside, look for dark or discolored spots on the ceilings. This can indicate problems with the roof or shingles. Roof replacement is yet another costly home repair job that no new homeowner wants to deal with.
Windy days aren’t much fun, but they can help home buyers determine the air tightness of a property they’re viewing. If you notice a lot of drafts or rooms that seem to have considerable differences in temperatures, this can indicate that the home’s windows and doors need some work. Don’t forget to check out the home’s attic and basement and check to see if there is proper insulation. And remember, even the best of homes can have a few problem areas, so don’t disregard a home just because there are a few drafts. Fixing drafty doors and windows are relatively easy fixes and shouldn’t be a deal breaker. However, if it’s a windy day and there are significant draft problems, then you might want to keep looking elsewhere.
Homes that are located in cold weather climates should have features that help the home maintain a comfortable atmosphere. Look for proper insulation in attics and basements, be sure to ask if the fireplace is operational (not all of them are!) and the last time it was inspected. You should also inquire about the age and condition of the heater, furnace, HVAC, etc. While viewing the home in cold weather, take note of the home’s temperature. Does it feel warm and comfortable? Are there rooms that seem too hot or too cold? If so, this could indicate issues with the vents, HVAC or simply that the home’s layout isn’t well designed for air flow. Check out the thermostat too, while you’re at it. Is it programmable? Programmable thermostats can help a home maintain an optimal temperature and some can even be programmed by room. They also help the home be more energy efficient, which can help you save money on cooling and heating bills.
Keep in mind that no home is absolutely perfect – even in perfect weather! But looking at homes in less-than-ideal weather conditions can help you discover a few things that would otherwise be hidden. The best thing you can do is work with an experienced buyer’s agent and get his or her advice on common home issues and use your instincts when it comes to evaluating a home’s features and flaws.