May 25, 2017
Homebuyers have an axiom: Never fall in love with anything that can’t love you back. It is easy to become misty-eyed while touring a house that seems perfect but your family’s future is at stake and it is vital to make sure that you take a hard, no-nonsense look at any potential new abode before locking yourself into a six- or seven-figure commitment. According to Realtor.com, there are a number of warning signs you should check before signing on the dotted line.
First, pay attention to the home inspection – particularly with regard to important deficiencies like major electrical, structural or plumbing issues. Don’t get so caught up in paint swatches and landscaping that you gloss over the fundamentals. A house with critical flaws can leave your wallet in critical condition. Also, keep an eye out for environmental difficulties like mold, asbestos, lead paint or septic problems. It can’t be your dream home if living there makes you or your loved ones sick.
Second, the website advises that buyers look at some of the minor details. Things like lighting, paint or trim aren’t a big deal in and of themselves but if they were done badly or on the cheap, it could be a canary in the coal mine – a warning indicative of more serious problems from a builder who wasn’t overly worried about quality control.
It is also good to remember that you aren’t just buying a house. You are buying a subdivision and a set of neighbors as well. You don’t necessarily have to knock on every door but feel free to visit the area a few times at different points including nights and weekends. If someone has a propensity for loud nocturnal parties or owns dogs that bay at the moon, you need to know that before closing. Also, if you are near an airport, landfill or other facility that could affect the noise or odor level, it is good to visit a few times so you can see if you still love your home when wind direction or flight patterns change.
You should also be wary of buying an odd or unusual residence. A place with a strange design or unique floor plan may seem charming to you but a structure that appeals to your artistic side may not have the same resale value that a more generic choice would. If you buy it, make sure you want it because you could find yourself living there for a long time or being saddled with the burden of a major revamp if you want to escape.
Finally, make sure the money is there. A dream home you can’t pay for can quickly become a financial nightmare. While it may be tempting to expand your budget, it is wiser to leave in some padding instead so that a job loss or other cash flow problem doesn’t become an instant crisis.