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A Realistic Look at Your Budget and Trade Offs
This will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture giving you a clear view of everything. Check the walls and ceilings carefully as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection. Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller's responsibility to fix them.
How Can I Determine My Housing Needs Before I Begin The Search?
Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes make a list of your priorities - things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools, your job or to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and wish list Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it while a list covers things that you would like to have but that aren't essential.
Deciding On A Community
Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life. Many people with children choose communities based on schools. Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable.
How Can I Find Out About Schools & Community Resources?
Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You can get information about school systems by contacting the city or county school board or the local schools. You may also want to visit the local library. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of the questions you have
How Can I Protect My Family From Lead In The Home?
If the house you are considering was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven you will want to have an inspection for lead-based paint. It's important to know that lead flakes from paint can be present in both the home and in the soil surrounding the house. The problem can be fixed temporarily by repairing damaged paint surfaces or planting grass over affected soil. A lead abatement contractor can be hired to remove paint chips and seal damaged areas to fix the problem permanently.
What About A Home Located In A Flood Plain?
A flood plain is an area of land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences flooding during periods of high discharge. If you live in a flood plain lenders will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home and work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.
What Other Issues Should I Consider Before Buying?
Always check to see if the house is in a low-lying area in a high-risk area for natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. or in a hazardous materials area. Be sure the house meets building codes. Also consider local zoning laws which could affect remodeling or making an addition in the future.
What Does A Home Inspector Do?
An inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed. The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you're getting good value for your money. Generally, an inspector checks (and gives estimates for repairs on): the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and Ventilation the heating and AC system, water source and quality the potential presence of pests the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof. Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced. It's a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since once the deal is closed you've bought the house as-is.
Do I Need To Be There For The Inspection?
Its not required, but it's a good idea. Let the inspector do their job while you take notes and pictures. Following the inspection the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you would like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general maintenance questions.
What is a Home Warranty?
Essentially, home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time, such as one year against potentially costly problems like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems which are not covered by homeowners insurance. Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.
What Do I Do If I Feel Like I Am Being Excluded From Seeing A Neighborhood?
Immediately contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if you ever feel excluded from a neighborhood or particular house. Also, contact HUD if you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, or disability. HUD's Office of Fair Housing has a hotline for reporting incidents of discrimination: 1-800-669-9777 and 1-800-927-9275 for the hearing impaired.
How Can I Find Information On The Property Tax Liability?
The total amount of the previous year's property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it's not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor's office. Tax rates can change from year to year so these figures may be approximate. Keep in mind that your mortgage interest and real estate taxes will be deductible. A qualified real estate professional can give you more details on other tax benefits and liabilities.
What Should I Look For When Walking Through A Home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists use the HUD Home Scorecard and consider the following: Is there enough room for both the present and the future? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms? Is the house structurally sound? Do the mechanical systems and appliances work? Is the yard big enough? Do you like the floor plan? Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions and write down your measurements. Does anything need to repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items? Imagine the house in good weather and bad and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round? Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Keep the scorecard and notes for each one.
Do I Really Need Homeowner's Insurance?
Yes! A paid homeowner's insurance policy (or a paid receipt for one) is required at closing so arrangements will have to be made prior to that day. Involving the insurance agent early in the home buying process may save you money. Insurance agents are a great resource for information on home safety and they can give tips on how to keep insurance premiums low.
What Steps Could I Take To Lower My Homeowner's Insurance Costs?
Be sure to get quotes from several insurance companies. Also, consider the cost of insurance when you look at homes. Newer homes and homes constructed with materials like brick tend to have lower premiums. Think about avoiding areas prone to natural disasters Choose a home with a fire hydrant or a fire department nearby. Other ways to lower insurance costs include insuring your home and cars with the same company, increasing home security, and seeking group coverage through alumni or business associations. Insurance costs are always lowered by raising your deductibles but this exposes you to a higher out-of-pocket cost if you have to file a claim.