You’ve found your dream home and it seems to be in the right location for work and school obligations and the price is right! Time to go for it, right? Maybe. But before your sign any papers with star-studded eyes, make sure you take a long hard look at a few things that some people forget to investigate before they buy a home, and are surprised when their dream home turns into a House Of Horrors.
Three Things That Make (Or Break) Your Dream Home
- HOA Requirements
- Pest History/Subtle Signs of Infestation
The first is kind of a no-brainer, but unless you’re moving somewhere where you already are familiar with the whole street, you won’t really know your neighbors. This can be alarming, and there’s no way to know everything about someone in a short amount of time, but there are a few things to consider. When you wave at the prospective neighbors, do they wave back? Is their yard trashed and windows broken? Is their grass three feet tall? Sure, they could have fallen on hard times, but it’s not looking so promising. Ask the current homeowners about the neighbors if you ever see them face to face. They might not be honest, but you can tell a lot from their facial expression!
Ask for a list of the HOA requirements and read every single word. Don’t skip one page. If they don’t let you have colored Christmas lights, an above-the-ground swimming pool, or a chain link fence, and these are deal breakers for you, you need to know that before buying. You also need to know how much HOA fees are. More than one homeowner has been blown away by unbelievable HOA dues – to the tune of thousands of dollars! If that’s not up your alley, this may not be the house of your dreams.
This next thing to consider is hard to think about but it’s crucial. It’s rare, but it’s crucial. Is there any chance your home is filled with any kinds of pests – rats that have overtaken the basement, or worse, snakes? It is not a bad idea to hire an exterminator to do a thorough investigation of a home if you’re super serious about it. A few homes have made the news in recent years because they had been built on top of snake dens – and the snakes could not be abated no matter what the homeowners did, forcing the homeowners to move. You can also ask for a record of sale of the property from the local courthouse. Remember that some houses are often bought and sold by house flippers, so what you really want to look for is short sales, long periods of abandonment, and any lawsuits involved with the house.
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