Monday, November 25, 2013

Keeping it all straight.....

Purchasing a home can be a daunting experience, and one that too often is driven by emotions. While you should love the home you ultimately decide to purchase, you should exercise some practical reasoning and methods to ensure you're getting the best possible home for the money. Using the services of a reputable realtor is invaluable. They are familiar with the area, values, and common concerns.
When touring homes with your realtor, it is wise to have done a little bit of research on your own. Aside from the material likely available from your realtor or the seller's agent, consider looking up the home's property records and building permits online if possible for the area. Review some reliable home inspection sites to get a feel for common issues in the area, as well as some tips of things to look for as you walk through homes.
Some obvious things to keep your eye out for include signs of water damage. This can be on ceilings, walls, window sills, and even baseboards. Look for bubbled or blistered paint, discoloration of the area, or a musty odor. Water damage often leads to mold, which in turn can lead to health concerns and some serious cash to correct both the source and result of the water.
Look for signs of poor maintenance. This can include simple things like cracked outlet covers, or drippy faucets in need of a gasket. Take a good look at the exterior of the home, keeping vigilant for signs of cracks in masonry, pest infestations (like termite tubes), and rotting woodwork in the eaves or fascia of the house. While all repairable, these are often signs that basic maintenance has been neglected and may incur costs that quickly add up.
Check all the mechanical systems in the home, including the furnace, air conditioning system, hot water heater, and appliances (if they will remain with the home). Ask if there are existing warranties in effect as well. It often pays to bring along someone who is experienced with home repairs to give their opinion.
Not all aspects of home-viewing require that you look for signs of potential trouble with the home. It is every bit as important to look for positive features; particularly those that will increase the value of your investment. In addition to looking for signs of a well-maintained home, consider the location of the home. Is it near services and amenities such as good schools, easy access to shopping, and medical facilities? Look at the homes in the same neighborhood to get a sense of the overall pride of ownership within the community. Look for quality workmanship and professional installation of things such as cabinets, exterior hardscaping (patios and the like), and for overall functionality and flow within the home.
Don't simply trust your emotions when it comes to buying a home. Do a little research on common pitfalls, take along a qualified friend or relative for a second set of eyes, and carefully examine structural details to ensure you're not falling in love with a money pit. It's often been said that the wisest purchases are those based on location. After all, you can paint, remodel, renovate, and re-imagine a building. But you can't often move it to a better area.