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What should you look for when buying a house?

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βˆ™ 2017-08-09 08:49:03

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Go to the basement, if it has one...look at the foundation. If it has severe cracks, or even several cracks, especially running from side-to-side, don't bother looking any further. This is not a house you want to purchase. Also, look closely at the interior walls of the home, and any painting and updating. Ask yourself, "Has the seller taken good care of this home, or are they covering things up?" Why do you want THIS house?How does the house make you feel when you first see it? This is called "curb appeal" and can often make or break a sale. Even if you really love it, slow down and take a good, hard look at the reality.

Look at the location: convenience to schools, shopping, transportation, sports, etc., whatever you need or enjoy. Is anything changing (new park, new freeway, factories closing down, crime rate rising)?

Consider which factors will make the house your home: quiet/busy neighborhood, corner lot, distance to neighbors, yard, view, other amenities (parking, fence, landscaping), size and layout of the rooms (bathrooms on each floor? privacy? common spaces? workshop? garage?), general age and condition (Victorian needs rehab, or brand new, move-in condition), depending on your preferences. Do you have any furniture that will fit? Can you see yourself making breakfast every day in that kitchen? Ask to come back at a different time of day so you can see how the daylight changes in and around the home. What do you hear when standing in the bedroom (local steel mill? car alarms? traffic? airplanes? children playing? nothing but birds twittering)?

Take along someone who knows about houses like the one you're interested in. Read the listing and supplementary information (disclosure) obtained from the seller or agent. Ask specific questions about anything of concern: "Why is the fireplace boarded up?" "How old is the roof?" "How long has this stain been in the ceiling?" Look quickly at every room, around the outside, any other major buildings (garage, cottage, etc.) and make notes of anything you will have to repair or replace, or to look at closer if you're still interested (basement, crawl space, attic, shed). Take pictures, if allowed, so you can remember what you saw where, especially if you're looking at several different places. Some agents provide copies of pictures they have taken.

Plan to have a professional inspect for mold, infestations, water quality, and general repairs, if indicated by the overall condition, and make an acceptable report a contingency to proceeding. Does it need to be completely updated (major repairs, heating, Plumbing, electrical, insulation, etc.) or just minor repairs (new paint and carpet in bedrooms)? If there are big costs, consider adjusting your initial offer, or if you would wait to get the report and execute the contingency if the seller does not want to negotiate at that time. The seller and the agent probably priced the house knowing generally what it would cost to make it livable, but have no idea what you might need to make it comfortable for yourselves.

What are the operating costs? Annual fuel and electric bills? Yard and pool maintenance? Does the seller have a list of "things" that they know need to be fixed or upgraded? Did they have any ideas or plans for remodeling?

Consider if it is a good investment: can you afford to purchase it, pay the taxes and other costs, make repairs, do maintenance? How does the value compare with other similar houses recently sold in the area? Is it already the most expensive house on the street? Over-priced "fixer upper"? Consider a low-ball offer. Could you resell it quickly if you needed to? How motivated is the seller and why are they trying to sell it? What is the local reputation of the seller and the agent? (Are they thieves? Are they getting sued every other week?). Are there any known issues with the title (estate sale, foreclosure, trespassers, leases, liens, easements)? What alternatives are available that you may wish you had purchased instead of this one? How long will it take you to get the financing or sell your existing home?

There are always "pros and cons," and it is up to you to prioritize them, weigh them, and decide. You may simply say, "I love it, and nothing else matters," or perhaps, "the basement stinks, we're done here," or anything in between that meets your needs and your budget.

Once you're comfortable with all of this, make an offer!

2017-08-09 08:49:03
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