These days, real estate moves fast. For those who sell, this is great news; but, for those who are looking to invest your money in a piece of real estate, this only means reduced times to go browsing the market. What usually happens is that to secure a house you like, you must make an offer on the house within hours of viewing it.

So, with the market as fast and fluid as it is, be quick with your offer! Here are nine things to look for when you tour a home:

Location, Location, Location

Location is one of the most critical aspects of the house you are looking to buy. On your way to it, check out the neighborhood, nearby buildings and road systems that could potentially make a living in your home less pleasant. Also, look out for noise, traffic, odors, and similar elements in the area. Drive through the neighborhood at different times of day and week to check out the real state of things.

Floor Plan and Room Sizes

When you are buying a home, choose one that already has a layout that works for your family. Since any demolition or renovation is expensive and usually takes a lot of time, buying a house that looks like “it could work” isn’t the best investment property. A few nip and tucks here and there is fine, as long as it doesn’t make a dent in your budget.

Signs of Water Damage

A mildew smell, dark spots on roofs and walls, or even on the floor could indicate previous water damage and therefore a problem with flooding. If you are not an expert yourself, bring a professional to establish whether what you see are signs of continual water damage or just an unfortunate leak.

Electrical Boxes

Old fuse boxes and jury-rigged wiring are red flags for every home buyer; if the problem is minor and can be fixed immediately, that’s good. But, if it looks like a big job, this could potentially prevent you from getting a mortgage or the homeowners insurance required for a mortgage.

Roofs and Gutters

Unless you are a roofing professional, chances are you won’t be able to spot roof problems immediately. However, what you should be on the lookout for are signs of a worn-out roof, like missing shingles, shabby look, or leaks in the house. As with the case of poorly wired electricity, if the roof doesn’t meet specific standards, you may not be able to get an insurance or a mortgage.

Furnaces and Air Conditioners

No matter how polished the AC and ceiling fan look, you want to check them for functionality before you say you’ve found “The One.” Listen for suspicious sounds when the air conditioning and the plumbing are on to get a hint of what condition they are in.

Have a Couple of Open Houses Under Your Belt

With the climate as it is, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Either find a few houses you are seriously considering or get a few practice-runs in by checking out open houses before going to your target house.

   If you’ve got a house in mind and a budget set up, start house hunting as soon as possible. Be mindful of the tips above for a more straightforward and easier quality purchase.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in Southern CA, let’s talk.