As you start to “Narrow the Field”, so to speak, we will want to return to some homes for a second, or even a third, visit. While neither of us is a professional home inspector, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look around the attic to see if there are any obvious roof leaks, stick your head in the crawl space and breathe in the air to see if it smells musty and so on… Once you enter into your contract, you will have a variety of inspections done to get the answers that you need. You will also start to spend money on these inspections. You need to feel good about going under contract on this home before you even make an offer. So, inasmuch as it is possible, pay closer attention to your surroundings on these additional visits. You need to know if the home is “functioning in the manner in which it was intended”. AKA, does everything work and work well? You can figure out how you will decorate later!
Before you actually make an offer, your Realtor will be conducting some initial property research. And you should, too. We look at Realist Reports to learn more about tax value, what the previous owner paid, what type of loan they got, how homes are selling in their neighborhood, what businesses and schools are close by and so on and so forth. We might also try to find you a link to the neighborhood HOA and/or their property management company so you can look at covenants and guidelines for the neighborhood.
Now would be a good time for us to take a closer look at flood maps, the RDU noise map if you are close to the airport, planned road construction in your area, any adjacent land issues, how close you are to the nuclear power plant…the list can be quite extensive. We can also give you links to learn more about the schools in the area, as well as any building materials that might have been part of class action law suits in the past. For your part, you can research crime statistics, make sure that the surrounding conveniences will work for your needs, etc.
This will be your home and you need to learn as much about it and about the area as possible. Never has the phrase, “buyer beware”, been more important to you. At the end of the day, though your Realtor will help you as much as they can, you are ultimately responsible for learning all that you can.
Next time: Understanding Comparable Sales & Market Value