January 6th, 2015 8:00 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
If you’ve narrowed down your choice of a home to one, you
may be eager to make an offer and get negotiations started. If you’re buying in
a tight market where sellers have the upper hand you may even feel pressured to
put in an offer the moment you see a house.
But, before you write that check for your earnest money
deposit, you should take a little time to investigate the house and the
neighborhood so you have a better idea of what you’re buying.
Your REALTOR® can be a valuable resource in gathering
information for you and getting the answers to your questions from the seller’s
agent. In the meantime, you can be proactive and do some of your own research.
1. Search for neighborhood information online.
If you already live in the community, you may be able to
skip this step, but it’s always worthwhile to search local newspaper websites,
local government sites, community sites and blogs to find out what’s happening
in terms of upcoming development or other issues.
2. Check the crime report.
Your local police station will have statistics on crime and
you can also go to www.crimereports.com to
find information according to a particular address or ZIP code.
3. Check on the schools.
Even if you don’t have children, buying a home in a good
school district is an important way to make sure your home maintains its value.
You can find information on each school district website or go to www.GreatSchools.com for ratings.
4. Check for local amenities.
You can go to Google Maps for a Street View of a community
to see what’s nearby, or visit www.WalkScore.com to
find out what is within walking distance of the home. If you have a particular
activity that you enjoy, such as tennis or golf or swimming, find out how far
you’ll have to go to get to a facility.
5. Check for neighborhood amenities.
If you’re buying within a homeowners association, you can
usually find information online about community activities, but even in areas
without an association some neighborhoods have frequent community-wide
gatherings or sports leagues.
6. Visit the home at different times of day.
If you want to know what it will be like to live somewhere,
visit on a weekday, a weeknight and a weekend to see how quiet or active the
area will be.
7. Test your commute.
If you only visit a home on a weekend you’ll have no idea
what the traffic pattern is like during rush hour, which could have a big
impact on your enjoyment of the property.
8. Schedule a home inspection.
Your purchase offer should include a home inspection so you
know what repairs must be made and about how they will cost. You may or may not
be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for home improvements, but it’s
always better to go into a house with full knowledge of its condition.
9. Talk to the sellers.
If the sellers are willing to share information with you,
they’re the best resource of all to learn about the community and the house.
You can ask the sellers about renovations they’ve done and even talk to them
about whether your plans for the house are possible.
10. Ask about taxes, homeowner association dues, homeowners
insurance and utility bills.
Your monthly housing payment includes more than just the
principal and interest on your loan. Make sure the taxes, insurance, homeowner
association dues and utility bills will fit into your budget.
By: Michele Lerner | To view the original article click here