JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you're in the market for a new home, you may want to take a little more time at the next open house and try some things you never thought of. Like turning on all of the faucets, for instance.
It's easy to get distracted by things that won't really matter if you buy a home, like the ugly couch in the living room. Or even the bright green paint you can easily fix. It's other, more important things you really need to keep an eye out for before you make an offer.
For starters, you need to find out if there has been water damage. There's been a lot of flooding in North Florida, so look for lines across ceilings and on walls. Also, pay attention if everything looks new, like the drywall and carpets. If they've replaced everything, that should also be a red flag.
When you walk through the house, open and close all of the doors. This will help you tell if the foundation is cracked. Doors that stick are a clear sign things have shifted. Misaligned doors and windows are also a sign of foundation cracks.
While you are looking at those windows, test to see how easily they open and close. Older windows may not close tightly and that could mean higher utility bills. You may need to replace those sooner than you would like.
Now, let's move on to the bathroom. Spend some time in there! Turn on the faucets. Low water pressure can be a sign of a problem you can't see, like corrosion or other issues with the home's pipes. Try putting the faucets on full blast to see how the water runs.
While you're in the bathroom, get down and examine the floor around the base of the toilet. Look for stains that could indicate there's been a leak. The floor around the toilet shouldn't be soft and the toilet bowl should be tightly secured. Give the toilet a gentle shake and make sure it doesn't move. If it does, that could be a big problem.
Another big thing to think about is the neighbors. You can do a lot to improve your home, but you are pretty much stuck with your neighbors. Once you decide this is a home you really want, meet the neighbors and try to spend time with them before you make the final decision.
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