What You Need To Check Before Buying A Home

Glenn Carstens-Peters
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A stunning home with all of the trimmings is just what you hoped to purchase. Whether you’re opting for a large, family house or a quiet condo for you and your partner, you want to check out a few of the potential pitfalls before making that final offer on the property.

Must-Have Requirements

Whether you are planning to rent an apartment or buy a home, you need to put together a list of must-have requirements. For example, you might require a house that has at least four bedrooms because of the size of your family, or you may need a home that has only one level because of a disability that makes climbing the stairs difficult or impossible. Be sure to separate the qualities you must have in a house from the ones that you would like to have. Grouping the latter with the former can make your quest for a home overwhelmingly challenging.

Safety in the Neighborhood

For most people, purchasing a smaller home in a safe neighborhood is a better idea than buying a large one in a town that’s experiencing a great deal of crime. Find out what the crime rates are for the town in which you are considering purchasing a home. In fact, you might want to eliminate towns based on crime rates before you even start to look at houses. When a neighborhood has a serious problem now and is showing no signs of improvement, the issues may continue to grow worse over the years.

Access to Your Job

Even if you find the most stunning house in the world, you may grow to resent it if your commute grows by an exponential amount. Not only do you want to consider the amount of time it takes to get to your job, but also the modes of transportation available for doing so. In the event that you take public transportation to work, living in a house that is miles away from the nearest bus stop, or that does not have a train station in it, can prove to be problematic in the long haul.

The School District

Being a part of an excellent school district is another important element. If you are going to have children, or already have them, you want to find out if the district matches up with what you want in a school. Some parents want to send their children to the schools where students score the highest on state exams, and others need a program that is well-suited for children with special needs. If you are considering going the private school route, then you need to find out what options are available in or near the city.

Proximity to Schools

Not only do you want to know that the schools are a good fit for your family, but you also want to find out how far away they are from your home. Trying to race to get to a school that is 30 minutes away when you’re all already struggling with your morning routine can make you regret the purchase. On the other hand, some people do not like to live too close to schools. For example, you might be unhappy if you purchased a house with a high school set up against the backyard.

Proximity to Entertainment, Shops, and Dining

Ultimately, the qualities that are important to you in a home might not mean the same thing to another person. Some individuals want to live near vibrant downtown areas that they can walk to. If this description fits you, then you want to see how close the house is to shopping, dining, and other forms of entertainment. On top of that, you probably want to see how the entertainment options are for your children if you already have little ones or if you are planning to add children to the family in the near future.

Safety and Health Code Issues

Once you have scoured every detail of the neighborhood, you will likely start to settle on some specific houses. You want to make sure that the houses are up to code in terms of health and safety for the protection of your family. For example, you likely know about the dangers of asbestos and lead paint. Before you move into the home, you would need to make sure that these issues have already been taken care of. You, of course, want to ensure the structural integrity of the house before you buy.

Obtaining a Thorough Inspection

Before making a final decision on a home, you want to obtain a thorough inspection. A certified inspector will be able to look for issues that you might not have deemed as problematic. For example, in some areas, it is against code to not have a dish for bar soap in the bathroom. You may also discover that the house has an illegal apartment in it that needs to be taken down, or that you have to obtain the proper permits for, before you move forward with the sale of the house.

Research the Approval Process

In the event that you are purchasing a condo or renting out an apartment, you may need to be approved to live in the building. Before you get your heart set on any one location, you should thoroughly look into the approval process so that you don’t fall in love with a living space and then find out that you do not qualify. For example, some boards might not permit you in if you have a pet, so you will need to look elsewhere. Other boards will require proof that you make no less than a set amount of money. The list of possible requirements goes on and on.

Amicable Relationship with the Landlord

As a renter, you need to maintain some level of relationship with the landlord. The two of you do not need to be best friends or even friends at all, but you need to maintain a professional relationship that is free of drama. Upon meeting the landlord, you might say that you could never envision being a renter in his or her home. If that is the case, you should seriously consider if moving into this particular property is the right move for you and your family.

Consider the Outdoor Space Available

As the buyer or renter, you need to think about what type of outdoor space you would like. When living in a condo or an apartment, for example, you will want to ask if outdoor space is available to you or if common areas exist. Those who are renting an apartment in a house will want to find out if they have use of the backyard. For individuals who are buying a home, you may want a certain size backyard so that your children can run and play, or you may only be interested in houses that have a pool.

Assess Curb Appeal

When appraisers assess the value of a property, they take curb appeal into account. They look at how well-manicured the property is, they take elements such as fences and driveways into the overall price. You should do your own assessment of the look of the property. You might be perfectly fine with purchasing a house that lacks in curb appeal because you have your own ideas for how you are going to set up the outside of your house anyway. Other individuals want to buy a house that requires little to no work at all.

Long-Term Prospects

Think about how long you plan to live in the home and if the style and space make sense for you. If you are expecting a set of twins in just a couple of months, signing a one-year lease on a one-bedroom apartment probably does not make the most sense. If you are purchasing a house that you plan to live in for the rest of your life, then you should make sure that a bedroom and bathroom are available on the first floor. At some point, climbing the stairs on a regular basis might become too much.

Bargaining for the Right Price

Before you agree to rent any space or purchase any home, you need to check out what the appraisal is for that particular property or what the going rate is for similar apartments in the unit. Conducting thorough research at this level can help you save a lot of money in the long run. Failure to do so could mean that you make an offer to the seller or landlord that is well above what you need to pay, and you may end up resentful toward the home later on.

No matter what type of home you have in mind, you cannot just jump right into any transaction. Instead, you need to take the time to look into these elements and qualities as well as any others that are of importance to your family.

 

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