New Home Purchase: Look for Quality Craftsmanship In the Updates - Home Artisans of Indiana w
New Home Purchase: Look for Quality Craftsmanship In the Updates
New Home Purchase: Look for Quality Craftsmanship In the Updates

Buying a home is one of life’s biggest moments and possibly the most significant decision you’ll make. Understandably, you want to make sure it’s a solid investment – and not a chancy gamble. This is true even with move-in ready properties, whether newly built or recently renovated. When it comes to a new home purchase, look for quality craftsmanship in the updates. This can be the difference between a forever home and… well, a very expensive regret.

New Home Purchase: Look Before You Leap

Look. Scrutinize. Ask questions. And call in reinforcements (including a licensed home inspector) to ascertain whether updates have been completed with skill and quality craftsmanship. It can be a challenge because, in some cases, developers or homeowners will undertake a variety of improvement projects in an effort to appeal to buyers. Well-intentioned or otherwise, it’s critical you look past the surface.

Everything looks great with fresh paint, shiny floors and fixtures, trimmed lawns and neat flower beds. But you need to ask yourself: Is this just window dressing? You may still want to go ahead with the purchase, but you will go into the process with all the information you need to make a sound decision.

All that being said, what exactly should you look for when it comes to the craftsmanship of any updates to the home? That list could be virtually endless! It depends on the property, the price, and your expectations and needs. Start with these:

Was Work Properly Permitted and Up to Code?

If you are looking at a newly built house, all work should be appropriately permitted and in compliance with applicable codes. You can check on the credentials of the developer/builder behind the project, as well as with municipal/city/town records to ensure they obtained the right permits.

With an existing home, look that the proper permits were obtained if any updates were down in terms of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, as well as structural changes/additions. All of this work must receive the go-ahead from relevant authorities and pass their inspection processes.

Are Fixtures and Finishes “Cheap”?

Ideally, the house you are considering purchasing will be fitted with high-end fixtures and finishes rather than contractor grade. Think about it like this: You could go to an electrical supply store for a component or you could go to Home Depot. Both will work – but the high-quality option will work more efficiently, more effectively, and longer than its cheaper counterpart. And think about it like this: You may be charged high-end prices even if you’re getting contractor grade.

Having laminate instead of hardwood flooring, as an example, may not be a deal breaker for you (laminate may even be preferable for a variety of reasons that are relevant to you). However, you do need to be aware of what you’re getting so you can go into any negotiations/decision-making process with the facts behind you.

What’s the “Little Picture” Telling You?

Many experts advise visiting a property at least three times. The first is to get a sense of the place – a gut reaction if you will. Likely during this visit, you’ll be overwhelmed by details, which is why a follow up is a great idea. You can take your time to get the big picture, examine elements and components, ask questions, and create a list of issues/concerns that you want to explore further. The third visit is where you really zero in on the small details. What does the “little picture” tell you?

Are there gaps in the flooring? Misaligned tile? Are the doors solid or hollow core? Do you feel a draft at the windows? Is there a musty scent in the basement? Is anything dripping or leaking? Any standing water in the yard? Again, it’s a good idea to have someone else – preferably someone who is knowledgeable about home building, remodels, updates, etc. – come with you. You should always have an inspection completed by a licensed pro, but if you can get a head start on this now, all the better.

Do Updates Reflect the Character of the Home?

This informs the quality of craftsmanship in another way: In addition to determining whether fixtures, finishes, and other elements are of high quality, you are assessing if the updates align with the character of the home. Putting ultra-modern elements in a historic craftsman, for example, might be an interesting way to bring the home into the 21st century – or it could create a discordant feel that detracts from the original intent and beauty of the property.

We’ve seen many homes that have been “updated” with engineered or laminate flooring, for instance, which covered up gorgeous hardwood or original molding hidden with drywall. Not all updates are upgrades! If preserving the integrity of the design matters to you, make sure renovations and remodels were done in a way that honored the home’s past while giving it new life for the future.

When In Doubt…

Call a trusted professional. The right craftspeople and artisans are consumed with quality and make every effort to complete updates with an exact level of care and detail. If you’ve completed a new home purchase and want to make changes, find the best people for the job(s) at Home Artisan of Indiana.

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