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  • Writer's pictureJohn Patrick

"Home Buying Through a New Lens: The Quintessential Guide to Engaging All Five Senses"

A home buyer's guide to finding the home of your dreams for the best value!

The real estate game has seen a lot of change since 3rd Quarter 2022. Interest rates, inventory, and the amount of time to close deals have all increased. Relax. Don't panic! Trust your gut reactions!

To support you with your home search, here is a guide to engage all five of your senses during your on-site visits to your potential new home. Each property you visit will have plenty to say to you if you follow these tips during your search.

Here is a guide to using your senses to flush out the best deals.

Sight. Look at the property.

  • Is it attractive?

  • Does it appear to be well-kept?

  • Is it clean? Or dirty? This could significantly factor into the offer price.

  • How much natural light is there? Solutions to lack of natural light can be pricey!

  • How large are the rooms? Always have your trusty tape measure handy. A bedroom must be large enough for at least a queen sized bed!

  • Is there any visible damage to the property? Black mold, rodent droppings, dead insects, cracks in the plaster, stains or missing pieces on the wood floors, holes in the walls, broken glass in the windows? Torn screens? Water marks on the ceilings or floors? All of these red flags should be negotiated and resolved prior to your closing.

Sound. Keep yours ears open!

  • Be sure to visit both during the day and at night!

  • Is there a lot of audible noise coming from outside, or from the neighbors?

  • Do the floors creak when you walk on them?

  • Can you hear traffic, sirens or children in schoolyards?

  • Do the appliances make noise? Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, Dishwasher?

  • Do the cabinets all open and close securely and quietly?

  • Do the doors open and shut easily and without racket?

Smell. Have a sniff around...

  • Is there any discernible odor when you enter the property?

  • Do you smell an air freshener or a scented candle? What is it masking?

  • Do you smell mold?

  • Do you smell natural gas in the kitchen or basement?

  • Does it smell swampy outdoors?

  • Is there a whiff of sewage?

Touch. Get the overall Feel of the place...

  • Run your fingers across the window sills to see if they are crumbly or need repairs. This could be an indicator for the need to replace the windows also.

  • Pick a bit at the walls. How many layers of paint and wallpaper might you have to deal with. Wallpaper removal is EXPENSIVE and labor intensive!

  • Grab the banisters to get an idea of their sturdiness. Find out the hard way if there are splinters

  • How do the door knobs feel? Are they lose?

  • Run your finger under the hot water. Ask about the boiler and its settings!

  • Turn on all of the faucets and showers, and flush all of the toilets! Water pressure can be a deal breaker, especially in a Pre-War NYC Apartment!

Taste. Is the place to your taste?

  • Have a sip of the tap water. If it's city water, is it over-chlorinated? If it comes from a well, does it taste stagnant? Ask about the water supply! NYC water comes from the Adirondacks and is notoriously the best tasting! (in my humble opinion!)

  • Most importantly does the property appeal to your sense of style?

  • What will you need to change to make it feel like home? Renovating a kitchen or bathroom in NYC is no easy task. Do you have a budget for home improvements?

Your experience exploring the property will allow you to raise questions to your realtor and in turn, the listing agent and the sellers. Your analysis and feedback from your team will allow you to understand what hidden costs exist and allow you to adjust your offer accordingly. With this information you will be well on your way to a sound decision.

John Patrick Designs is your resource for home staging, renovations, and we can assist during your search with virtual or in-person visits to your potential new home!

In closing, one of my favorite quotes from a 1980's television commercial, "At SYMS, an educated consumer (home buyer) is our best customer!" Happy Hunting!

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