Not the Typical Tips for Homebuyers

Real Estate Agent with The Maranda Group at Koenig & Strey Real Living

Buying a home can be exhausting and exciting all at the same time. There are the usual tips that most savvy potential homebuyers are already aware of: Review your expenses and then get pre-approved, where do you want to live, home inspection, etc. Here are a few other tips that are not always given consideration but should be:

 -If the house has been remodeled or rehabbed, and you have more than just a casual interest in the  property, ask to see the permits. Responsibility for fixing unpermitted work, should fall on the seller.

-Drive by property at different times of the day. I know this is not unusal or unheard but it is here to serve as a reminder to actually do it. Take the time to get familiar with the neighborhood. This way you can target certain neighborhoods or subdivisons you have an interest in and eliminate the ones you do not. You can also gage noise and traffic patterns if house is near school, hospital, college, library, stores, etc. 

-You might not always find out but it does not hurt to ask, why are the sellers moving?

-If the house is vacant, ask for how long it has been vacant and why. Did it sit vacant through a harsh cold winter and was it properly winterized. Ask for proof.

-For a house you are seriously considering, remove area rugs, large plants, small end tables, and anything you believe may be covering up something. Make sure you return them to orginal space. If something looks new, ask if it is still under warranty. Yes, you can buy a home warranty and that may eliminate the questioning. Even home warranties are limited. You are not going to hurt anyone's feelings, this is business.

-If house has fountain, pond, pool, etc. anything that requires special maintenance or even special permits in some locations. Asks what the average costs are per year. You don't want to be surprised and it should be added into your monthly expenses.

-If you buying a "fixer upper" or something to add on to, check to see what local zoning and building ordinances permit.

-DO NOT OVERLOOK the fine print. Yes you will have a lawyer, but it is imperative you review documents (even the best agents realize they are NOT lawyers). Take the time to read and ask questions.

-Understand and confirm you get adequate insurance.

-Realize home buying, whether your first home or 5th home is an emotional rollercoaster. Do your best to stay on budget. It is easy to overbuy and not take in to consideration: moving costs, redecorating costs and maintenance of your new home. So know when to take a break and quit. When you act on emotion rather than reason, you may regret it later. Especially if you spark your "competitive instincts" that you must win, in this case a "house" at all costs.

These are just a few tips to start thinking about. It is always wise to make an informed decision, take the time to educate yourself and prioritize, then you will be well on your way to making homeownership a reality.

Comments (3)

Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Another thing you can ask for in the purchase offer is for the seller to provide a copy of their CLUE report so that the buyer will have a good idea what kind of insurance claims have been made against the house and whether they may have trouble insuring the home.

May 17, 2010 04:42 AM
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Very good tips. I think buyers might be surprised how expensive a pool or hot tub can be. They can make a significant difference in their predicted expenses>

May 17, 2010 04:56 AM
John Thomas
E3 Green HOMES - Boulder, CO
EcoBroker, MSEE, MBA

Great advice Vicky, I especially like the second tip about visiting the property at different times of day. Sometimes people don't realize things like the angle of the sun or lights that turn on at night.

May 17, 2010 05:33 AM