Looking Past the Photos to See the Potential of Any Home

Looking Past the Photos to See the Potential of Any Home

  • Eric Hacker
  • 04/6/23

There are several components that contribute to the overall value and appeal of a home. Browsing the gorgeous photos on a home’s online listing is one way to learn about a Westlake home and determine whether or not you’re interested in a particular property.

However, the listing images aren’t the only factor you should consider as you try to determine whether or not a home is worth visiting. Here are some other questions you should ask and topics to consider as you search for the perfect new place to call your own.

Evaluate the layout

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When assessing a home’s layout, the listing images don’t always tell the whole story, as it’s a challenge to capture expansive, open spaces with a camera. You may be able to get a better idea if the listing provides a schematic or overview of the layout. However, viewing the home in person is the most effective way to get a true sense of the space.

If the home’s layout isn’t functional or conducive to your lifestyle, you may be better off looking elsewhere. Consider where each bedroom is located in relation to others. Some parents with young children would rather have all the bedrooms on the same level. Other home buyers prefer an open-concept living space where the living room, kitchen, and dining room are all connected.

Research the neighborhood

Even though many home listings will show photos of the surrounding community, it’s impossible to get a true sense of the neighborhood without visiting the home in person and doing some research on your own. Look into the neighborhood amenities, such as pools, playgrounds, parks, and walking trails, that residents can enjoy. In addition, research the nearby restaurants, shopping spots, and entertainment venues. Don’t forget your basic conveniences, either, like grocery stores, banks, the post office, and hospitals. If you get a chance to talk to your potential neighbors before you submit an offer, this can be a great opportunity to gain insider knowledge into what life in a particular neighborhood is like.

Learn about the local schools

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Of course, the listing photos also won’t tell you about the schools in the area. The quality of the local schools is important, even if you don’t have school-aged children yourself, as the school district has a significant impact on the appeal and future value of your home when it comes time to sell. So, it’s a good idea to spend time researching the local school system before you proceed with your purchase.

Websites like Niche and GreatSchools provide a ton of helpful information that can help you learn more about the schools in your area. Peruse the school websites to learn more about their enrollment, accolades and achievements, graduation rates, student-to-teacher ratios, extracurricular programs, and more. Some schools will even allow you to schedule a tour or a consultation with the administration if you’re considering enrolling your child.

Consider future projects or expansion

As you browse through a home’s listing photos or take a tour, consider the opportunities for future renovation or expansion. For example, maybe the house has an attic that would make a great ADU (or Accessory Dwelling Unit) if you put the time and money into converting it into an extra bedroom. Perhaps the kitchen layout is excellent, but it could benefit from updated appliances and new cabinetry. There are a number of steps you can take after you purchase a home to put a personal spin on the property and raise its value in the process.

Don’t skip the inspection

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A home might appear to be in excellent condition as you peruse the listing, but there might be unforeseen issues the images don’t reveal. On your home tour, make sure to watch out for certain warning signs as you walk through the space.

Check to see if there are any cracks in the siding on the home's exterior. These can be signs of underlying foundation issues. Take a minute to look over the roof as well. If you notice any sagging or shingles that are missing or cracked, chances are high that you’ll have to pay for roofing repairs or a replacement in the near future, which can be costly. If you notice any flaked or bubbling paint inside the home, or if you detect any scent of mold or mildew, the home may have a leak or a plumbing issue.

Once you agree to a deal to purchase a home, scheduling an inspection is one of the most critical next steps, as it’s essential to evaluate the property for any possible structural damage or future concerns. Professional inspectors are trained to fully evaluate the internal and external condition of a property. They will also provide you with a full report detailing what they find. The inspection report will also give details about the age of certain home fixtures, such as the roof, plumbing, and HVAC system. These components don’t last forever and can be quite expensive to repair or replace. You’ll want to know if they are reaching the end of their life so that you can financially prepare to replace them in the future. You may also be able to negotiate further with the seller regarding any areas of concern.

Ready to get started?

If you are ready to move forward in your real estate journey, it’s time to team up with an expert. Eric Hacker has spent years helping clients shop for amazing properties on the Dallas-Fort Worth housing scene, from Southlake real estate to Westlake and Trophy Club. Eric is well-versed in seeing the true potential of a property, and he can provide insightful market data to help you make wise financial decisions. Reach out to Eric today to begin achieving your goals!

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels

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