14 Things You Need to Add to Your Buying a House Checklist
When you’re searching for a new house, it’s easy to let your emotions get in the way of your logic. It’s possible to want a home so badly that you forget to ask important questions before signing on the dotted line. Keep this buying a house checklist in mind so you can truly get the real estate you want.
1. Visit the Home at Different Times of Day
The open windows that let in natural light during the day could be the same windows that are welcome avenues for Peeping Toms. The peaceful street that the home is on could turn into a busy and noisy area during rush hour or morning traffic. You may think it’s a perk that the home is near a great school. But during the school year, the noise from school traffic and the active playground nearby could prove to be a little overwhelming. When you’re filling out your buying-a-house checklist, make sure you visit the neighborhood at various times of day.
2. Be Aware of Local News
Your buying a home checklist should include knowing all the news concerning the home. Find out whether the water supply in the area is clean. Make sure that high-voltage power lines aren’t going through your yard. Check the website of the city or country the home is located in to see if there are any major projects coming up.
3. Talk to the Neighbors
Have a chat with the neighbors the next time you visit the home. Find out how many people in the neighborhood are home owners. Ask the residents what the positive and negative aspects of staying in the neighborhood are.
4. Inquire About a Neighborhood Association
Ask the neighbors how often they get together for meetings or social activities. You should also inquire about whether there’s a neighborhood newsletter. When the community has events like block parties or play dates, it shows they’re committed to preserving the integrity of the neighborhood. This should also be one of your buying a house checklist items because these factors indicate that the neighbors will likely look out for your kids.
5. Ask the Seller In-Depth Questions
Quiz the seller about any problems the house has. Don’t forget to keep this on your home-buying checklist, because it will let you know whether you have to pay for repairs. Even if the seller has fixed the problem, make sure you know what the repair was. For instance, if there was a leak in the basement or anywhere around the foundation, you probably don’t want to do any digging in that area.
6. Have the Home Inspected
All homes have a defect or two. But you should find out all you can about the house before your purchase. This will help you negotiate a lower price, if possible. Or, you can brace yourself for any potential repairs. It’s a good idea to get an inspection for termites and lead paint, as well.
7. Get Detailed Home Records
If the home has improvements, make it a part of your buying a house checklist to get a detailed report of these repairs. For instance, if the seller tells you the home was repainted two years ago, and you see that the price of materials was low, you may need to get ready to paint the home with higher quality paint shortly.
8. Remodeling Is Challenging
Tell the sellers about your home remodeling ideas and don’t forget to ask questions. If you notice a shower in an obscure place, inquiring about it could reveal that it was more structurally sound to put the shower there. This will help you in your future home improvement endeavors, so don’t leave this off your checklist.
9. Take in the View
Notice the houses on either side of your potential residence. Are they in tear-down condition? Is a lot on one or both sides of the home empty? Are there city or country regulations concerning this? Make sure there won’t be any unsightly structures that affect your view or the look of your home.
10. Request Utility Bills
The same goes for water and electric bills. Ask the sellers for bills so you’ll know if maintaining the home is within your budget.
11. Remember Taxes
Ask the seller the amount of several recent tax bills. Houses can be taxed higher due to appraisals from year to year; this happens quite often. If the property taxes go up tremendously each year, even with Prop. 13 in place, the home may not be a good investment for you. Ask your Realtor how taxes are used in the area so you can make a sound financial decision.
12. Think About the Amenities
When putting together your buying a house checklist, think about the extra features of the home. Do you need a two-car garage, or will you be OK with a smaller one? Are you prepared for the upkeep that comes with having a pool?
13. Inquire at City Hall
Inquire about zoning for the home and the area. Check to see if there are any easements or liens. The buyer’s agent should assist you with this process, and the seller should also disclose this information.
14. Look at the Entire Area
If you’re new to the city, your buying a house checklist should include looking at the surrounding area of your home. You need to know whether your neighborhood is close to a less desirable part of town. If the house is near an airport or police station, expect that there will be noise at various times of day or night. If you’re close to an agricultural area, be prepared for not-so-great smells during certain times of year. Of course, if these things are deal-breakers, it’s time to start searching for a new home.
For more information on creating a buying a home checklist and more things to include or if you believe the checklist is ready to go, leave a comment, and we’ll get back to you.