When you have found a house design you like in a desirable location that may be a possibility for you to buy, look it over carefully for evidence of quality construction or the lack of quality.
Judging a House
Does the house have the general appearance of being in good shape? Is the house design robust? Do the doors swing freely, and do they fit the openings? A poor fit of the doors often indicates the foundation is settling. Do the windows operate freely? If not, look out. Of course, sometimes paint may stick the windows and they can be pried loose and made to operate freely.
Are the floors level and in good condition? If the floor is high in the center of the room, it is not because the floor has risen, but because the walls are settling. Do not buy a house if the floors are not level. This situation is very difficult to correct and usually indicates a serious defect in the structure. It may be that the house design is not suited to the location on which it is built.
Look for evidence that water may have been a problem. Are there spots on the ceiling or walls that show that water has been leaking around the roof area? What about under and around the windows? Look around the bottoms of the walls near the baseboards for water marks. What about areas near the shower bath, or around the laundry trays?
If the floor in the house design is of frame construction, is the area under the house well ventilated? Crawl under the house and examine the framing under the floor. Take your pocket knife and test the joists and sills to see if they have started to decay. Get up into the attic and look over the situation; it is surprising what you may discover.
The two most important parts of a house are the foundation and the roof. If these two are in good condition, it is a pretty good sign that the house is structurally sound, no matter what the house design. But structural soundness is not the only, or even the most important criterion to use in judging a house or house design, but that is all we have time for here.
Study the Plan
The structure exists solely to enclose the space that you will live in. Study the room arrangement of the house design carefully.
Will the living room be the principal passageway through the house in this particular house design? It may lead to traffic lanes across the carpet in a year or two! Where will you put the piano or the davenport? What about the television? Is there a good place for it and the spectators around it, where they can be out of the way of other activities?
Is the kitchen complete with adequate work areas where they will be convenient? Is there a good place to eat? Is there a place in the house for a dining table? Does the house design accommodate the storage of food supplies?
Is the house light and cheerful, or dismal, dingy, and dark? A gloomy house can have a very depressing effect on a family. Are there enough bedrooms, and are they large enough? Are wardrobes large enough, and fitted with rods, shelves and organized storage space? What general storage space is there for suit cases, fishing tackle, cameras, projectors, golf clubs, etc.?
In selecting a house, be sure to get the things in it that you have always wanted. That is the reason you are buying instead of renting. If you want oak floors on a wood frame, don’t settle for asphalt tile on concrete, which is much cheaper to build. Some people have trouble with their feet when they stand and work on hard cold floors, as concrete floors tend to be, even when covered with asphalt or vinyl tile.
Make a thorough investigation of the house and house design and you will make a wise choice.