The National Association of Realtors’ 2011 report reveals that more than a third of the homes sold (37%) were bought by first-time home buyers. Excellent financing, ample square footage and a picture-perfect lawn shouldn’t be the only factors driving buyers to make the commitment.
Savvy home-buyers ask for more details about the property and the neighborhood before they sign a binding offer today. Everyone has heard at least one “I-wish-I-had-known-before-I-bought-this-place” story from friends and family. Looking beyond the glossy hardwoods and open floor plan is one way to avoid buyer’s remorse.
Does This House Have a Rap Sheet?
Many communities look safe and peaceful under the bright mid-day sun. But looks can be deceiving. Although a realtor or home owner might not divulge details about how often the police are called to the neighborhood to settle down a loud party or separate a feuding couple, the police department usually will. Neighborhoodscout.com provides information about neighborhoods using data collected from 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation. A quick stop at the local precinct to ask how many incidents happened within the last year will provide a clearer picture for buyers.
Can This House Pass the Test?
All states have laws that require sellers to disclose any known defect, such as mold infestation and remediation, structural deficiencies and flood zones. One thing that isn’t on the books in most states yet is whether the prior owner was a drug user, Joseph Mazzuca, co-founder of Meth Lab Cleanup, told CNN Money journalist Lee Christie. Marijuana, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and other drugs leave residue in the carpeting, paint and on other surfaces that can make occupants sick. A simple test that typically costs less than $50 is available from numerous companies, including homemethtestkits.com.
Will My Insurance Go Up?
When factoring the cost of your new home, consider what the insurance will be. The year it was built, the square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the neighborhood— all of these are factors that can affect your home insurance rate. Use an online quoting source such as http:homeinsurance.com to determine what you can expect to pay.
Your auto insurance can also be affected by a move, even if it is a short distance. Contact your company to get a quote. The NAR survey revealed home buyers typically move an average of 12 miles from their previous home.
How’s the Nightlife?
Buyers looking for access to entertainment and 24/7 activity want to be in the thick of things. Homeowners looking for a quiet neighborhood close to parks and public transportation might be surprised to learn the park hosts all-night jamborees or weekend concerts-on-the-green that can be heard from miles away. Asking neighborhood residents whether there is a two-in-the-morning freight train or chronic traffic jams eliminates surprises later.
Can I Have That in Writing, Please?
When a realtor showcases the recent upgrades, the first question ought to be “Who did the work”? Virginia C. McGuire of the Roofery says that roofing warranties vary widely, even within the same company. Even if the roof is new, the appliances are new, and the interior is spotless and freshly painted, buyers should ask to see all warranties and work permits to verify transferability and terms. A home warranty policy is an option that protects buyers and sellers. Closing.com provides details about home warranty benefits.