There are many advantages to buying a home in the fall. During fall the real estate market is often slower and you may be able to get a cheaper deal, as there is less competition from the buyers’ side. Another advantage to buying a home in the fall is that you get to see the home’s true condition during a very unstable time. Fall is the best season to check for potential problems that you can encounter.

1. Insulation and Heating: There are many windy days in fall, and this is the prime time to check how well the home is insulated. As you pass through the home notice if the home feels cooler or warmer than usual, check if the heater is on and see what temperature it is set on. If the heater is not turned on, ask if you can turn it on and see if it makes any noise (a rattling heating system is a burden especially during the night). Do not forget to examine below and around the windows, put your hand over this space to see if it feels cooler (if so then wind is seeping in). If the rooms feel cooler this is an indication of poor insulation and a warning that the same rooms will feel a lot hotter during the summer months. Also check for leaks under electrical outlets, baseboards and doors. Lastly, notice if there is an odd smell in the home, it could be due to the clogged duct system or a potential problem with the furnace.

2. Fireplaces: A fireplace adds that cozy touch to the home. However, it you might not get that cozy feel if you happen to notice that a lot of draft is coming in once the damper is opened. If a lot of draft is coming in, then this is an indication that you will need to repair it. Get information about when the chimney was last cleaned, if more than a year passed you will also need to clean it.

3. Rain: Examine the place when it is raining. Look for water pools on the ground, and figure out where the water is gushing from. Spouts of water shooting from random sides/corners of the house are an indication of potential flooding. Take a look in the basement and see if there are any signs of leaks, examine under the carpets, look at the walls for any grey patches and notice if there is a musky/moldy smell. All the problems you encounter in the fall will be most likely encountered again during spring.

 4. Leaves: Falling leaves around the house give it that extra charm. But there is nothing charming about leaf cleanup, it is a difficult and time consuming job. Look at the space around the home and see if there are many leaves, if so this will lead to problems such as clogged gutters and drainage systems if you do not take the time to clean up. Consider if you can deal with such chores.

By carefully examining the home you are preventing yourself from encountering high expenses in the future relating to utility and maintenance costs.