If after weighing all the pros and cons, you want to take the plunge and become a first time home buyer, congratulations on your decision!
After making sure you have the down payment and are pre-qualified for a mortgage, the fun process of house hunting can begin.
There are so many housing options to choose from: luxury co-ops, pre-fab homes in gated communities and historical properties can all be yours. But before you agree to sign on the dotted line, you must conduct the necessary legwork to ensure that you are buying your dream home and not a money pit.
Conduct a Title Search
Depending on the market you live in, it is either the responsibility of your attorney, real estate agent or escrow company to conduct a title search to ensure that property is clean and also investigate whether there are any additional liens against the home.
The property representative must also let you know if someone died in the apartment and provide you with maps indicating whether you are in a flood zone or near a fault line.
It is up to you to ask questions and research everything regarding the home.
Finding out your utility providers, zoning regulations, toxic materials, surveying the property, insurance requirements, school districts and overall neighborhood is ultimately up to you.
As a matter of fact, depending on the state you are in, chances are you will need to sign a due diligence checklist that will limit the legal responsibility of your broker.
Get a Home Inspector
A home inspector will examine the home from top to bottom and let you know about every situation that may cause you problems and may require immediate attention before the home can be sold and “pass inspection.”
Termites, mold, retrofitting, electrical circuits, water heater capacity, water flow, condition of appliances and overall structural integrity are only a few of the items the inspector will rate. Shortly after the inspection (which more then likely is the financial responsibility of the buyer), you will be provided with a report and you need to read ever last word to fully understand what you are getting into.
The home buyer needs to be completely aware of every little detail regarding the home they are interested in as if once you sign on the dotted line and close the deal it because your problem. Most people would not buy a used car without taking it for a spin, kicking the tires and paying a little extra for an independent mechanic to look at the car in question. That process is even more important with a home because of the amount of money involved in the purchase.