Who is Doing Your Home Inspection?

Your Realtor can recommend various home inspectors that they’ve worked with before and trust. Check their prices, but don’t make a decision solely on cost (sometimes cheaper is not always better). You want someone who is licensed with state of NJ, and will provide a prompt report including pictures. The report should not only include necessary repairs, but helpful information on regular maintenance.

Is There Radon in the House?

Radon is a gas that comes from the decay of uranium in the ground. It is prevalent in this area and in large sustained doses can be a health risk, including the potential of cancer. It is easily remedied and should not cause you to cancel your purchase. However, you should be aware of it, so the proper steps can be taken to remediate the problem. Your Realtor will tell you how to do a Radon test along with your home inspection.

What’s the Slope of Your Property and Length of the Driveway?

Best case scenario:  your property should slope away from the house. That way water accumulation will not head towards the house and seep into the foundation and the basement. The length of the driveway is also a consideration. Do you need the extra parking space? Are you willing to shovel the snow from a lengthy driveway? Does the driveway slope toward the street? (this may cause children’s bikes and toys to roll toward the street).

Are the Gutters in Good Condition?

Mostly overlooked, gutters and leaders are an important feature of a house. They divert water away from the foundation preventing potential damage. Make sure they are not dented, rusted, disconnected, or release water too close to the house.

Have There Been New Renovations?

Additions and renovations to an older house is beneficial for you, as the buyer. But you need to make sure that the proper permits were pulled and then the township did the subsequent safety inspections when the work was complete. The last thing you want is to find out after the sale is done, that the newly wired Family Room was done improperly causing a safety issue. Your Realtor will aid in gathering this information for you.

How Old are the Appliances?

Besides the kitchen appliances, also look at the AC, furnace, how water heater and whatever else may be in the house (eg.: water softener, generator, basement freezer, etc.). There’s nothing wrong with older appliances, as long as they work. But if you have to plan for replacement in the coming months or years, that cost should be considered. The same is true regarding when the roof may need to be replaced (another costly item).

How do the Schools Rank?

Every parent has a different feeling towards how the schools should be for their child. There are lots of school rankings out there. All are based on different criteria and many have different results. Often, many schools will tie on many criteria and vary on a couple, thus causing one school to drop in the rankings when in fact it was a tie with a miniscule difference. Take a look at the various rankings and look at averages. More importantly, talk to other parents who have children in the school. Get their opinions on the type of education their kids are getting.

Are There Sex Offenders Nearby?

As a parent of young children, this issue can be of concern when choosing a house.  The residences of convicted sex offenders are public knowledge. You can find it on various public websites; one being www.familywatchdog.us. Keep in mind, a visit to your local police station can also get you the information. Note: Your Realtor is prohibited from giving out this information under Megan’s Law (to prevent erroneous information from being disseminated and potentially ruining the reputation of an innocent person).

What Would Your Commute be Like?

Come to the property early in the morning, and commute to work from that location. Whether you park your car there and walk to a bus or train station, or drive to your office - see how long it takes and if it’s within your comfort zone. The same with the commute back to the property. Then perhaps do it 2 or 3 times to get an average commute time.