3 Things You May Not Think to Check Before Buying Your Next Home

If you’re getting ready to shop for your dream home you probably have a long list of due diligence items to check on before you sign on any lines. Here are three things that might not be on your list, but probably should be.

The Neighborhood

Every neighborhood has it’s own flavor, sometimes even unspoken rules and generally understood practices that the insiders know to go by. Sometimes that mini-culture changes from street to street, or in the case of condo living, from building to building. Learning all you can about the dynamics of the neighborhood — where do the kids play after school or meet the bus in the morning, are there block parties you’ll be expected to attend, do the ladies get together for coffee and the gentlemen gather for football or does everyone generally hang out together, or does everyone keep to themselves — can tell you a lot about whether you’ll feel “right at home” or like a fish out of water in your own backyard.

Your Real Estate Agent may be able to help, and you can always interview the seller. But spend some time driving, or even better, walking, through the neighborhood you’re considering calling your own. Visit at different times of day, week days and weekends. If there are people outside do they wave and smile, or look away? If you do talk to someone and mention that you’re a potential neighbor how do they respond? Most of all, know what kind of neighborhood culture best suits you and your family before you start to shop. Sharing that information with your Real Estate Agent at your first meeting might help you find your dream house even faster.

Home Owners’ Associations (HOA’s)

Buying a home that falls under a HOA is neither a good thing or a bad thing — but it’s something you want to know about sooner rather than later. Even if there are no fees attached for upkeep of common areas, the association can dictate the color of your home, whether or not you can install a satellite dish, what types of vehicles can be parked in your driveway, and what kind of pets you’re allowed to have in your home. Some will even demand that you use certain types of fertilizers and pesticides, or that you install a sprinkler system. And if you want to add gardens or landscaping these agreements may well limit your options there too.

If there is a HOA or neighborhood covenant of any kind be sure the home you’re considering isn’t already in violation of any of the guidelines. As the new owner it would be your responsibility to bring it into compliance.

Utility Costs

When you are figuring out your budget for living in your new home don’t leave out utilities. A lot of people don’t think to ask for the records, but you’re well within reason to request copies of the utility history from the seller. Your Real Estate Agent may even provide that for you. Not only does it give you a more solid idea of your monthly expenses in your new home, an abnormally high bill might give you a clue to a defective water heater or heating/cooling system that would be otherwise undetectable.

We want to help you get into a home that you and your family are going to enjoy for years to come. We know that we can help you find the right mortgage, we’re betting on you to find the right home.

We’re here if you need to close on your dream home fast (we are, after all, the “home of the 8 Day Close”) and we can help you get the right mortgage for you even when your credit isn’t great. Call your local office, or fill out our easy on-line form, to get one of our licensed loan officers working on the right financing to get you into the home of your dreams!

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