You found the house that you love and want to make an offer? Congratulation, but wait, before you pack your bag and move in, you owe it to yourself to know what to do before you make an offer.
1. Visit your potential house at several different times during the day.
You might find out that your next door neighbor’s dog barks incessantly after dark or the house next door has 4 extremely LOUD children who all come out after 3pm. And maybe they fight a lot. (Ahem.)
2. Always, always, always keep resale in mind…even if you plan on dying there.
Even if you do die there, chances are someone in your family will be responsible for selling the thing eventually. Buy or build a house that has good bones and express your creativity through things that can be easily changed (like paint or maybe landscaping). You may love the idea of an ultra modern-looking house which sits in the middle of the country but to others it might look exactly like a prison.
3. Find out about the school district…even if you don’t plan on using the schools.
In my experience, good school districts generally indicate a healthy community. Plus, a good school district boosts your resale value. GreatSchools is a place to start. You also might check the testing results in your state.
4. Don’t buy the biggest/most expensive house in a neighborhood.
Instead, go for a smaller/lower-valued home in a nicer neighborhood. The nicer homes are more likely to bring your home value up instead of the lower-priced homes bringing your home-value down.
5. Do a little research about the community.
Are things being built up or torn down? Are people moving in or out? Does the town receive good press or bad press? All these things will give you a clue as to where things are headed in the future. The place may be booming now but is the trend likely to continue into the future? Another thing you might want to check out is the National Sex Offender Public Registry if that sort of thing is important to you (sorry, I know this is US-centric).
6. Find out about the house’s history.
Zillow has some useful information, particularly about past sales and surrounding home values. Find out if the seller is asking way too much (or if it’s an absolute steal). You can also get an idea of what kind of property taxes you’ll be paying. You can check with your County Clerk about what the house sold for previously too. (Many County Clerks now have this info available online.)
What would you add?