Sunday, October 25, 2009

House Shopping On A Rainy Day

Sunday, October 18, 2009, was a perfect example of the kind of dismal day that provides great information for a would-be buyer. (For the benefit of my out-of-town readers, Sunday was a dark, leaden-skied day. It was rainy and windy. By two o’clock or so, we had by wet snow. I was in Jamaica Plain, where it came down white and turned to mush beneath my feet. Farther from the city, they got a dusting that stuck. Those who roused themselves out from under the covers that day and went to open houses could find the following things:

1. Light:
It is easy to evaluate the interior light on a day like that. If there are going to be dark corners, you’d have seen them. Houses that looked fairly good last Sunday will be really good on other days. I spent all day Sunday turning lights off for my buyers, then turning them back on for the rest of the open house hunters.

2. Cold spots:
It is easy to find drafty spots on a day like that. Many open houses had signs requesting that guests take off their shoes. This gives the house hunters opportunities to feel cold floors (especially over open areas like porches and garages.) Careful hunters also check along baseboards and room edges for gaps in the insulation below. Use your hands on exterior walls to find gaps in the insulation. Feel around windows. Great windows that are poorly installed can have drafts all around them.

3. Water shedding:
When it rains heavily, problems with gutters and downspouts announce themselves. You need to go outside and look. If water is going to seep into the basement, you are likely to see it or smell it on a day like that. This was not a major storm. A house with chronic problems would show water, but one with rare occasional problems would still be OK.
One of my clients went back for a second showing because they wanted to see the place in real daylight. They made an Offer on Monday night. I am glad they did it, to satisfy themselves. But they realized that they didn’t need to, once they got there. It was not terribly dark on Sunday and it was quite bright at 5 PM on Monday.

Were you hunting tlast Sunday? Are you bold enough to turn off the lights and to check for drafts and leaks?

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