Check This List Before You Make An Offer
So, you have found the perfect home. All the pieces fit, from the bedrooms and baths to the big yard and dream kitchen. The hard part is over, right? There is a term used in real estate – homebuyer’s remorse. It’s the itchy feeling buyers get once they make an offer on a property. The National Association of Realtors reports over 6 million existing homes sold as of June and new constructions going up all the time. Whose to say a better house won’t appear after the bid?
This feeling is something most homebuyers experience. Instead of giving in to it, take the time to expand your research and learn more about the property.
Get to Know the Neighborhood
You are not just buying a structure; you’re buying into a neighborhood, so do your research. Neighborhood Scout is an online tool that provides details on almost every neighborhood. Did you know that the crime rate in the tiny town of Las Animas, Colorado is around 3.2 percent for every 1,000 residents, as NeighborhoodScout.com reveals? This is a subscription service but it does offer a substantial amount of free information.
The interactive map allows you to click on the state and then a second map pops up that lets you choose the city and neighborhood. You have the option to look at schools, crime rates, home appreciation and other pertinent facts. Clicking “overview” brings up a map of the city broken down by neighborhood.
Realtor.com reminds you to check for Home Owners Associations for the neighborhood too. See what fees they charge and what services they offer. Find out if they have any pending lawsuits against them. The Secretary of State website often lists HOAs for each area. Otherwise, ask your real estate agent, or even knock on a few doors in the neighborhood to get details.
Ask the Seller What’s Wrong With the House
Fox Business offers a proactive approach that saves time and effort. Ask the seller:
“Is there anything wrong with the house that I should know about? Are there any insect or rodent problem? When was the last time someone came out and checked for rats or raccoons?”
If they hesitate, remind them that a full inspection is necessary anyway, so you might as well get the problems out in the open. They want to sell the house and part of that is building your trust. Chances are you will learn a few things you didn’t find out on the walk-through.
Check the Home Insurance Rate
It makes no sense to buy a bargain house if your home insurance rates are about to triple. Insurance brokers will be able to give you a basic estimate, according to HomeInsurance.com. They offer an online tool that lets you see the average insurance rate is by state. Just slide your cursor over the map. The site also lists which states have the highest premiums and which states are showing increases.
Ask for a List of the Fixtures
Don’t assume that light you fell in love with is part of the sale. Fixtures are permanently attached items such as the kitchen cabinets. Often a seller will throw in some extras like window treatments, as well. Real estate agents provide a list of common fixtures, but you want to dig further. Ask for a complete listing before you bid. Once you get it, try negotiating to retain anything else that caught your eye. They want to sell and may offer more just to seal the deal.
About the author.
John Hopkins is a stay-at-home dad and part-time handyman who loves the outdoors. He writes about his experiences in building, environmentalism and parenting.