Image by sfegette via Flickr
This is the second of a two-part post on tips for buying a home. Doing your homework will better prepare you in making your dream home a reality.
Research Neighborhoods. Look for neighborhood profiles in the general areas that you are considering. If you are looking to purchase a condo, seek out such information as HOA fees and restrictions. If possible, check with neighbors. Also, look at nearby conveniences such as distance to grocery stores, medical facilities, education and day care facilities, religious institutions and distance to your work. Make sure that these places are within an acceptable commute.
You may also want to research local transit options to major shopping and employment centers. When searching for your new home, make sure to look for links to nearby transit stops. Moreover, a quick search on your favorite search engine for your "city + transit", should lead you in the right direction.
Check out Schools. If you have school-aged children, make sure to check out the local public school district. Find out recent test scores in your area, along with teacher to student ratios. Even if you don't have children, you will find that areas with excellent school districts are an attractive option for a home's resale value, as well.
Buying Checklist. When viewing beautiful homes for sale, you may forget to make sure that the kitchen faucet doesn’t drip. A printable buyer’s checklist can help you remember questions to ask when buying a home and things to look for during your tour. Make sure to take along your digital camera on tours (do ask permission to take pictures!) so that you will have a visual reminder of each property.
If you will be working from home, make sure to factor in your new workspace. Make sure that your high-tech needs can be met. Have a qualified electrician inspect the wiring of the house to see if the system can handle the extra power load that your home office requires. Some older homes may need significant upgrades to handle the extra power, while newer homes are built with more energy-efficient systems to handle the additional power along with heating/air conditioning requirements.
Get a Home Inspection! A home inspector can point out potential problems that could cost you big money down the road. While this may be an additional up front-fee, it is worth it in the long run.
Know recent prices that homes in the area. Make sure to research market conditions for other homes in the area before making an offer so that your bid is in line with similar sales in the neighborhood. Use an offer comparison tools to see if your offer will be comparable to other selling prices for a particular neighborhood. This will save you time, so that you can focus your offers based in your specific price range and budget.