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OTHER ITA SITES:
Before You Buy That Home, Do Your Homework
When it comes to buying a house, I often think that people do more due diligence and research when buying a computer or a stereo, than they ever do when buying a home. They know all about woofers and tweeters and gigabytes and hard drives, but get a blank look when you mention GFCIs and R-factors in insulation. Why is that?
Firstly, I think with certain products, say a new car, we've read consumer reports; we know the mileage; we know how well it holds it's value; so, all we really have to do is pick the colors. Follow">All the research is already done for us; an Accord is an Accord is an Accord, they are all the same.
Houses, generally speaking are not and I think we approach the purchase of a home from a much more emotional standpoint. That is entirely understandable. Sure, we check to make sure we are in the required school district, but after that it all gets a bit hazy. We walk onto the property, we love the rose bushes in the front yard, the flooring in the dining room is superb, the window coverings are to die for and the backyard barbeque area is just perfect.
In reality, and realty, these things are just superficial accoutrements. They are important, at some level, in the sense that you have to be attracted to the home in the first place, but before you make an offer you really need to cast a more critical eye over the property. Walk to the very back of the property. You might get a better view of the roof and chimney. Does it look ship shape up there, or will it need work. Are the floors even, or do they slope? Do the stairs creak and groan? How are the walls? Are they straight and even or do they look like they've been patched up lately, maybe from water damage. Sniff around the bathroom and under the sink. Any mildew-like odors emanating from there? Walk the perimeter of the structure looking for any foundation cracks or settling. Walk to the street for a different angle of the roof. Check the driveways and walkways for cracking. Their replacement can add up to big bucks.
I know what you're thinking; I'm going to get a professional inspection done anyway. Right you are and, of course, you always should. But you might discover something that puts you off the property before you incur that expense. Plus, having a good look around may influence the price you wish to offer, if you find items that will require attention.
Two final points. If they are around, talk to the neighbors as they can be invaluable sources of information, both good and bad. Finally, come check the place out after dark, you never know what you may discover.
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Travel Part B