Keller Williams Main Line
Janis Peterson
Janis Peterson, RealtorĀ®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP


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Home > Blog >Homebuyer's Handbook: How to Assess a Potential Home Property Purchase

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How to Assess a Potential Home Property Purchase


Buying a home is a huge investment, and it needs to be approached with a clear idea of what features to look for in a great property. Just as importantly, it's wise to be alert to any potential problems that could quickly induce buyer's regret, and here are some of the key points to look out for when considering any particular home.


Curb Appeal Vs. Real Value: Don't Be Fooled


First impressions can count for a lot, but it's crucial to differentiate between a home's curb appeal and its true value. Curb appeal focuses on exterior qualities such as landscaping or a fresh coat of paint, but the real worth of a home is decided more firmly by construction quality, age, size, and overall condition.


It's easy for appealing looks to mask serious structural issues or general overpricing, so buyers must delve deeper than what meets the eye. On the flip side, if even basic curb appeal is lacking, it's fair to assume that other, more serious problems are likely to be lying undiscovered.


Evaluating the Neighborhood: What to Think About


Before considering the state of the building itself, it's important to take a hard look at the neighborhood it's situated in. The community a house is surrounded by contributes significantly to your living experience and also impacts a property's value over time - if a home seems like an amazing bargain, it could be that neighborhood problems are suppressing its value.


Crime rates and local safety are vital factors when evaluating a locality. High crime rates can pose a direct threat to your safety and will also affect property value adversely. It's therefore sensible to check local statistics or talk with potential neighbors to gauge safety levels.


Neighboring properties also offer valuable insights. A neighborhood with well-maintained homes suggests a strong community spirit with residents taking pride in their living environment. By contrast, noticeable neglect could be a sign of potential neighborhood issues that you might not discover until it's too late.


The general ambiance of the neighborhood, including typical noise levels, is another factor worth assessing. While a bustling environment may appeal to some, others might prefer tranquility. Making multiple visits at different times of day and different days of the week can provide a clearer picture of what to expect.


Further, the quality of schools in the vicinity is a fundamental element that can affect a home's value even if you don't have school-going children yourself. Generally, properties situated near reputable schools hold their value better and will be easier to sell in the future.


Lastly, it's important to consider neighborhood zoning laws and potential future developments. Planned infrastructure projects or zoning modifications can either boost your property's value or push it down, so check with local city or county planning offices for any upcoming developments.


Understanding Potential Structural Issues in a Home


Structural concerns play a central role in any home-buying decision, but what should you be looking for? Visible fissures and cracks in the walls, floors, and ceilings can be indicators of severe structural problems. Although minor cracks might be due to natural settling, larger ones could point towards foundation damage that could spell long-term deterioration. In particular, horizontal cracks in the basement walls or large angular cracks that appear to run from the ground upward should be a cause for real concern.


Uneven floors, doors and windows that won't shut properly, and gaps around window frames or exterior doors can also be symptoms of foundation problems. These issues should be taken seriously as repairing foundation defects can be ruinously expensive or even impossible to realistically fix.


If you're at all unsure about any aspect of a home's structure or condition, the input of a professional home inspector is indispensable during the home-buying process. Their detailed evaluation can flag potential issues and provide a much more accurate picture of the home's structural health than a simple check with an amateur eye.


Damp and Water Damage: Key Indicators


Other insidious problems that can severely affect a home are damp and water damage, and finding these early on can prevent health hazards and expensive repairs down the line. Discolored patches on walls or ceilings, a persistent musty odor of mold, or swollen woodwork could all indicate water seepage into the home. This might originate from leaks in the internal plumbing system, or from exterior cracks and damage allowing rain to get in.


The basements or crawlspaces of a home are often most susceptible to water intrusion because of their nearness to the ground. Damp spots, staining, or even standing water in these areas could indicate a serious issue, but even minor signs of water damage should be investigated thoroughly before moving ahead with the buying process.




For all these points, remember that buying a home is much more than just a financial transaction. It's about ensuring a safe and comfortable haven for families to make happy memories in, and it should be a purchase you'll be happy with for years to come. Be aware of what to look for during your first assessments of a potential home and you'll have a much greater chance of home-buying success and long-term contentment.



At, we love working with home buyers! Whether you are a first-time home buyer or someone who has bought and sold real estate multiple times in the past, we will take the time to listen to you, understand your needs, and help you achieve your goals. We leverage the latest industry technologies to enable up-to-the-minute tracking of market listings, enabling our clients access to newly listed homes as soon as they hit the market. Janis Peterson is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), and Buyer Agent representation is available. Janis Peterson has been helping Main Line home Buyers since 1994. Areas in which she specializes include Montgomery County Delaware County, and Chester County PA, Pennsylvania. Contact Janis at Tel: 610-642-3744 or e-mail her at Let Janis help you find your new home. Let’s get started!

Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Main Line Philadelphia Homes Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, Chester County

Keller Williams Main Line
Suburban Square
6 Coulter Ave 
Ardmore, PA 19003 
Tel: 610-642-3744

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Whether you're selling your current home or are looking for your dream home, call us at (610) 642-3744 or e-mail for a free consultation.


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