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House Hunting Checklist

Used houses can sometimes be like used cars - examples of the care we'd expect from that little old lady from Pasadena.
 
bullet Look at the landscaping for mature, low maintenance perennials, a deck or landing, privacy fences or hedges, sound walkways.  These are costly items that cannot realize full value in a house price.  The same applies to attached garages.
 
bullet Look for a seller who is a serious do-it-yourselfer.  How?  Check out the tools inventory in the basement workshop, tool shed, or garage.  Look for a router, a quality electric drill, perhaps a radial saw. Look for small tools as well, such as chisels, screwdrivers, handsaws, a mitre box, wood clamps
 
bullet Most used houses get a coat of paint before they go on the market.  If it's a professional job, that's a point for you.  Look for roller marks, sags, and skips on the walls. Look for paint runs around trim.  If you don't see them, you're in luck.
 
bullet Open and close windows and doors.  Make sure doors, including cupboard doors, don't swing on their own.  This can mean the foundation has shifted unevenly or the walls are askew.  Make sure the doors and windows don't stick; sticking could mean swelling from excess moisture and that, in turn, could mean wood rot in the frames and jambs.
 
bullet When you're really interested in a place, do a title search with a view to learning its history.  Has it traded hands every time the real estate market escalates, i.e., been treated as a speculative investment, or is it a one-owner.  The latter is preferable.

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