6 Quick Tips for Buyers

  1. If you will be commuting by car between your new home and your job, be sure to drive the route during both morning and evening rush hours before you make an offer to purchase. Many times prospective buyers look at homes during the late morning or early afternoon when traffic is relatively light. Make sure you know exactly what you are facing when you will be driving the route every day.

  2. When you find a home you like, have your realtor run "comps" on recent sales in the area to compare prices, sizes, and features of your prospective home with others. Be aware that the raw data may not provide an accurate comparison. Sometimes the sold price of a property includes other terms and conditions - decorating allowances, money for a new roof, etc. If that's the case with a home you are using as a basis for price comparison, the information may not be accurate, and the house you like may be overpriced. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

  3. Investigate, before purchase, the original use of the land on which the house is built. More than one buyer has run into trouble because of items not readily apparent. For example, if an orchard was leveled to build your subdivision, there may be a lot of wood under the soil. This wood can be a haven for termites, which then are likely to migrate to the homes in the area.

  4. If the exact school your child attends is important to you, verify that the address of your proposed home is within the boundaries for that school. Don't assume anything. School boundaries are sometimes drawn according to factors other than geography.

  5. You've found your peaceful haven on a lovely, quiet lake. Make sure you visit on a summer weekend before you buy. You may be unpleasantly surprised by the noisy jet skis, absent on Wednesday, but zipping around on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. They can seriously interfere with your dream of serenity!

  6. The home you want to buy is a "For Sale By Owner". Be very careful before jumping into a purchase without a real estate agent to guide you and manage the transaction to closing. There are many, many pitfalls that can cause a FSBO deal to fall apart. The home may be overpriced and consequently not appraise for the mortgage you want. Various inspections may not be completed in a timely fashion without an agent to oversee the timeline. You may not receive full disclosure of past problems with the property - leaky basements, buried oil tanks, etc. Consider asking your real estate agent to find out whether the sellers will "cooperate" (pay your agent a commission) to handle the details of the sale and thus insure that everything possible is done to make the sale go through.