Real Estate Resources
What to Look for When Buying a House

Any house you choose in the Cape May area will provide wonderful benefits like moderate mid-Atlantic weather, close proximity to the ocean and all the amenities of a charming, historical town. Before you make a final choice, take a good look at the neighborhood, research the local schools and make sure you have easy access to your workplace. Then focus on the layout, curb appeal and condition and of the home so you can enjoy living in it for many years to come.


Visit the Neighborhood


When you discover a house you like, drive through the neighborhood and see for yourself what daily life is like on that street and in the surrounding area. If you see happy kids riding bicycles and homes with neat backyards, you may decide that the community is a perfect fit for you and your children. On the other hand, if you are a retiree looking for peace and quiet, you may want to downsize to a single level house, a condo apartment or a townhome neighbors who share your interests. Keep in mind that buying the smallest home in the neighborhood can make financial sense down the road when you sell.


First Impressions Count


Some houses have spectacular curb appeal and the “wow” factor that grabs your attention immediately. Other houses may need a little TLC or redecorating, but if you can picture yourself living there, it may be worth the effort. Smart sellers will remove personal artifacts and transform their homes into a more neutral color palette to help buyers envision their own families living there. But if they don’t, and you see flaming red paint that is not to your taste, try not to be distracted. Cosmetic changes and small repairs may be easy and inexpensive to deal with, and you may not want to discount a home with small problems that is otherwise perfect.


Focus on the Floor Plan


The home you choose should offer a floor plan you can appreciate now and in the future. For families, that can mean multiple bedrooms, a family room and enough bathrooms. If you work from home all or part of the time, a home office tucked away from the main living area is an advantage. For people getting on in years, avoiding houses with stairs may be a priority. Many people take their home furnishings with them when they move, so if you are planning to move with your favorite easy chair and king sized bed, make sure that your pieces will fit nicely in the new house.


Important Features


Every buyer is different, and the house that is ideal for one family does not necessarily suit someone else. Take a good look at the house you are considering, inside and out, to make sure it provides the amenities you need or want. Some people love a main floor master bedroom, a fenced in backyard for the kids and an area that can be turned into a fitness room. Others may want a formal dining room for entertaining, a swimming pool and an expansive outdoor porch. A large eat-in kitchen may be a priority for families that love to prepare and eat meals together. Remember that it is hard to find a home with absolutely everything you want, but you may be able to rearrange things and add the amenity you are looking for.


Tip-Top Condition


Beside the location, arguably the most important consideration in choosing a house is the condition. Remodeled kitchens and bathrooms are a big plus, as well as updated appliances and flooring. Ask about the age of the cooling and heating system, and find out when the roof was last redone. Check for water damage along the basement walls and look for cracks in the foundation. Expect to make, or have the seller make, minor repairs and changes. But serious problems, no matter how beautifully decorated the house is, should be a red flag of warning if repairs are not made. Your realtor can recommend a competent inspector to give you a professional opinion about the condition of the home.

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