Friday, May 11, 2007

Looking at condos

Tomorrow my husband and I are going to go look at our first batch of condos with our real estate agent. Does anyone have any suggestions on stuff to look for or try out when looking at properties? Cardboard once told me to turn on all the lights at once to see if you blow a fuse, flush the toilet (no matter how embarrassed you might feel), and turn on each faucet and the shower to check the water pressure and temperature. Another friend told me to make sure to jot down a few notes after you see each place. After awhile they will all start to blur together. All great suggestions! I remember reading once (on AT I think) about a guy that brought a lamp with him and tested every single outlet. So what are your tips and tricks?


Anonymous said...

Checking the water pressure is always my first test.

Take a digital or polaroid camera and take a picture of the exterior and interior of each place so you can look at them for reference.

Leah said...

When we were looking for a place, I'd turn *off* the lights in every room to see how much natural light there was. (In our area, homes for sale are typically "staged" and have all the lights blazing, so it's easy to get distracted by the "show" and not look past all the stuff that wasn't actually staying with the property.) By doing that, we got a good sense of whether the place would feel dark and dismal or light and airy in "real" life.

I also was not shy about plopping down on the couch and just sitting for 10, 15, 20 minutes to really take in the space, rather than just walking through. For the homes we were most interested in, we went back with our realtor after the open houses, when the listing agent wasn't around, and spent an hour or so there so we could really get a sense of the place without the agent yammering on about its features and dozens of other people filtering through.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's important to turn off the "noise" around a property for sale and take the time to really picture yourself there before deciding whether to go for it or not.

Best of luck with your search!


Katie said...

Oh Leah, I like that suggestion about turning off the lights. I hadn't really thought about that and how the staging would change the natural light.

Good call on taking some photos. Are people generally okay with that? Hope so!

We looked at one place a month or so ago which was just down the street from where we currently live. We walked past it again later in the evening and noticed that the unit we looked at and liked the best had a street lamp right outside of the bedroom. YUCK!!! So I'm thinking if we like a few of these places we should take a stroll around the place and neighborhood at different times of day and night to see how the surroundings are.

Making it Lovely said...

Definitely take photos. Nobody should mind, and it's SUPER helpful (places do blend together after looking at a bunch). I would take a photo of the exterior of each place, then a bunch inside. As long as you start with the exterior shot each time, you'l be able to figure out which pictures belong to each place! ;)

Open houses are the worst. Are you working with an agent? We had ours take us to look at places in the 'off' hours (i.e. NOT on a Sunday/open house day). It's nicer to be the only ones there so you can really check the place out.

And go back and revisit your top choices, of course!

Katie said...

Oh good!! Thanks Nicole! Better stock up on batteries!

Yes we are working with an agent and she's set up all the appointments, so it doesn't sound like we'll be hitting any open houses. Woo hoo!

chinesetwine said...

go hog wild! take photos, flip lights on & off, test water pressure, do anything you'd do whilst checking out a new apartment times a bajillion. It's not like you can jump the lease on something you own, right?
I would also ask for a list of major repairs (and the dates they were done), projections for what may need to be tended to in the near-ish future, definitely walk around during various times of day, etc. there's so much to think about! I would also make a list of things that are absolutely necessary to you no matter how silly they seem and a list of things that are completely intolerable if these kinds of lists help you narrow things down.
OOOOHhh! I am just so excited for you!! Weee!

Melissa said...

i'm currently a renter in a building that is all condos, and while it all looks very nice there is one major thing that i don't think we could have noticed during a walk through..some buildings are louder than others, and so are some upstairs neighbors. in a new building this might not be an issue, but in a renovated fourplex (as in our case), it can be a real problem. especially if you have a very nervous dog.

B said...

Definitely stay long enough in condos near the train to see how loud the noise is. Also, if you're looking in an unfamiliar neighborhood and really like the place, go back at night and walk around. Walk to the nearest public transit and make sure you feel comfortable. Check the condos alley and make sure it's clean and safe. The inspection will catch problems inside the home, but you need to make sure you feel comfortable in the space.