Buying Tips | CENTURY 21

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Buying a Home

Research before you buy

Buying a home is one of the most complicated and expensive deals you’ll ever make. As with most other things, you get what you pay for, so do your homework:

Look at and compare many homes in different areas.

Once you have seen something you like, assess its location. How far will you have to commute?

What is the traffic like?

How does the neighborhood look?

What services are available?

How good are the local schools?

Will you be able to get your children into them?

What is the crime rate in the area and what types of crimes have occurred in the past couple of years?

Visit the home on multiple occasions and at different times of the day.

Remember: location, location, location. It's one of the biggest factors in setting the price of the home.

What’s it Going to Cost?

Do you have enough money?

Before you make a written offer know exactly what you are buying and what is the total cost?

In addition to the monthly principal and interest payments, you will need to budget for utility bills, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

If you buy a home that has a homeowner's association, you will also have to pay association fees.

Some homes have special assessments in addition to the regular property taxes. Make sure that you ask the seller for copies of the past years’ bills for these services. And don’t forget to find out if there are any assessments to be placed on the property.

Check the condition of the house and any appliances, window coverings and other items that you want included in the sale.

Consider purchasing a home warranty. For a minimum fee, the home warranty company will insure that the house and the appliances are in working condition.

Many companies will provide coverage for washers, dryers, pools and pool equipment, air conditioning and some roof repairs. Your agent or escrow holder can fill you in on these policies.

Some local governments will offer interest rate or down payment subsidies to buyers who agree to buy a home in certain areas. And governments or employers may subsidize teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and other service professionals who have difficulty affording a home in high-priced communities.A hospital trying to recruit and retain nurses, for example, might offer a down payment loan, which is forgiven and turned into a grant if that nurse remains employed with the hospital for several years.

Home Inspection

You should always get a home inspection

 When you buy a house, most times, the seller has to provide you with a document that lists known problems with the property. This is known as a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. Exceptions to this rule are listed in the Notices to the Agreement of Sale and also in the Notices to the PAR Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (a.k.a. Form SPD).

Although this form covers many important aspects of the property, buyers should not rely on this document when determining the property’s condition. Sellers must disclose conditions they are aware of. There might be other problems the seller doesn’t know about. For example, sellers might not know of a weak spot in the roof if it hasn’t started leaking. Or the seller might not know that a septic system needs fixing soon.

Buyers should consider hiring professional inspectors to at least do a general review of the home. Some of the inspections often performed:

Electrical system

Environmental issues



Mold and indoor air quality

Structural condition

Are Inspections Required? If you’re not sure then get one done.

Remember that requesting and allowing inspections is negotiable. If sellers have a choice between two similar offers, they may opt for the offer that is contingent upon fewer inspections. Still, that’s a risk. When a buyer waives the right to an inspection that means the property will be accepted in its present condition, no matter what the actual condition is. This could prove very expensive for the buyer if the house needs repairs after you move in. In many ways, the decisions on the inspections may be one of the key terms of the Agreement.

Do I need a house inspection when my bank is having the house appraised?

Yes. A house appraisal is an independent evaluation of the market value of a house or property. In general, the purpose of an appraisal is to set the value of a house so a lender can determine how much to loan a buyer. The appraiser sets the home’s value after checking the going rate for similar houses in the area.

A house inspector thoroughly evaluates a home’s structural integrity. While an appraiser typically works for the bank the house inspector is working for you. The house inspector identifies what needs to be fixed before the closing. That can save you thousands of dollars.


REMEMBER: Hiring a home inspector DOES NOT guarantee that everything will be perfect with the property, or that the inspector will always discover all the problems with the property.


Other Tips:

Sometimes a buyer may want to do It is often a good idea to drive around a neighborhood and talk to a few neighbors before you make an offer. That could clear up a lot of issues like traffic, noise pollution and other quality-of-life issues that might affect the decision.

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