Searching for a new home can be a very exciting and exhilarating process, and it can also come with its challenges. And while it can be tempting to make an offer without a whole lot of consideration or research once you've found "the one", particularly in a highly competitive market, we suggest doing a few things first. Doing these things can help ensure you know as much information as possible about the home and allow you to make a more informed decision.
Research the Property's History: Your realtor should be a great asset here, but it is important to look into things such as how long as the home been on the market, has it been under contract and back on the market? It is also a great idea to have your realtor contact the buyer's agent to find out information you may not be able to find out on your own.
Check out Finances: It's a good idea to know if there is a mortgage or any other loans on the property and who owns it and when it was last purchased. Your realtor can help you obtain this information or you can check the county's tax records.
Look Into Permits: If there has been any type of addition or significant renovations, it's worth investigating to see if the proper permits were obtained (where required).
Check the Market: It is important to look at other homes that are for sale, under contract and that have sold in the past year to get a pulse on the market in that particular neighborhood to compare prices and see how the home you're looking at compares.
Check the Housing Inventory: This can help you when making your offer. If there are a lot of homes for sale, it is a considered a buyer's market. If inventory is low, it is considered a seller's market.
Look at Property Taxes: What you'll pay in property taxes is an important thing to factor in when determining the actual cost of the home and how much you'll be paying.
Look Into Fees: Another thing that can impact how much you pay is potential HOA dues or other fees. It is important to know what those fees are and how are they are assessed.
Look Into Home Insurance: It's a good idea to look into what homeowner's insurance will cost on the property you're looking at. Different factors such as being in a flood zone, for example, can impact how much you'll pay for insurance.
Ask About Utilities and Other Upkeep: Don't be afraid to ask the current homeowners for a list of what they pay for utilities, lawn maintenance, etc.
Look at Day-to-Day Life: What will your commute look like? How are the local schools? What are the area amenities? These can all impact your quality of life while living in the home and can impact future resale.