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I forgot to add that you should check the growth history of the resale value market of the area you intend to buy in. Have the houses appreciated in value at a steady rate or has the area began to settle or depreciate? Will it be difficult to resell this house for a profit in a few years if you should need a new home due to a growing family? a career change or a military move? See if the businesses in the area have expanded or sunk, this will also give you a good idea on the growth potential for your property.
I think you should add a few more tips. Call the police and ask a few questions about that particular area. Tell them you would like to know how often they are called to that area; is it a drug area and etc. Do they have a neighborhood watch? The people selling the house may not give you a true answer. Ask about schools. Talk to several of the neighbors. As a rule, they will be honest with you. By neighbors, I mean three or four doors away from the house as well as next door. If you feel you are not getting an honest answer, go to the local newspaper or even the local library and read the newspapers. A computer might be a good source also. You can find out how much the houses are going for in that area on the computer and also what the house is really worth. Even local businesses might be able to tell you some things you need to know. Sure, it might take a little time. That old saying, "Better safe than sorry." is very true. Even school can say a lot if you walk down the halls and talk to the people in the students office. Listen to your gut feeling. Doesn't matter how fantastic the house may be if you can't be really happy, feel safe and know you can live there forever. Does it have a local hospital? Firestation? I could go on forever. Good luck.
Another tip is to ask a trusted friend or relative who is also a homeowner if they could change one thing about their house, what would it be. My husband asked his father this question, and he responded that it would be to buy a ranch style rather than a 2 floor home...something young/healthy or 1st time home buyers might not think to consider but could be very important as one ages.
We also learned if purchasing out of state rental property to make sure and run the location on mapquest. We were just about to put ernest money down on a beautiful home that sounded wonderful when the thought crossed my husbands mind. The "beautiful" home was surrounded by three railroad lines. That would not have been a peaceful nor desirable home for renters.
Also check for nearest dump and planned HWY's
We are now 1 mile from the new Toll Road. Will be done in 2 yrs.
Also visit home you plan to buy after 2 days of rain, for sitting water, sometimes not flood zones but still horrible drainage. Think mosquitos, smell, (around here - crawdads!) etc
OR MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT NEAR A CHEMICAL PLANT. I WORK AT ONE AND I CAN TELL YOU THERE ARE MILLION $$ HOMES AND 2 SCHOOLS RIGHT AT US. NOT VERY SMART BECAUSE OF THE RELEASED GASES, POSSIBLE TERRORIST OR EVEN ACCIDENTAL EXPLOSIONS.
look on the internet and ckeck the crime rate in the area and sex offender registery. you only need the zip code for the area. you would be shocked to know what REALLY goes on around you!
Also check the basement carefully and ask specifically if there are any cracks or leaks in the foundation. Check the roof and find out how old it is and if it's structurally sound. Check the window casements and make sure they are tightly sealed against the outside air. Find out how old the window are and if they are heat efficient, this saves alot of money in the long run. Check out the neighborhood and the school district. Even if you don't have kids. THese are just 2 determining factors as to whether your house will maintain it's value or will drop its value in a few years making it difficult to resell. Basically don't judge the house based on the nice carpet and paint job. Those things are easy to do and can mask some serious structural problems. Make sure you take in the overall picture. If you are unclear about buying get an agent or someone you trust to come along. And don't make an offer for a few days until you've had time to look at other houses and consider your options.
When looking to buy a new home, besides all the other necessary items to look for, go online or to the town's city hall to see if the home you're looking at is in a flood zone or near a dairy or pig farm. Some folks don't take these things into consideration before purchasing a new home & later wish they had!
By Terri H.
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