Precautions when buying a home
Think about this: throughout the entire length of your life, it is very likely you will never make a bigger or more consequential purchase than your first house. Buying a home, starting a family, and advancing in one’s career are a few of the marks of adulthood, and homeownership has been a distinctly American point of pride ever since the great Baby Boomer exodus to the suburbs following World War II and the completion of the Interstate Highway System. The idea that owning a home meant that you have “arrived” in society turned owning a home into a status symbol as well as an investment in the future stability of your family.
With one’s choice of house being such a large and significant decision, it should come as no surprise that entire industries exist to make sure that you are absolutely certain that the house you are purchasing is the best possible home for you and your family. The whole process starts with your intermediary, who more often than not is a licensed realtor but occasionally people buy or sell individually and you end up with just a real estate attorney or an arbitrator between you and the seller. Realtors are paid agents who are charged with representing your interests throughout the buying process. They are employed in helping you to locate suitable prospects, determining a house’s compatibility with your needs, helping you complete official inspections and making sure any pre-purchase repairs are completed, and helping you finalize all of your paperwork and the necessary logistics for the move from your old house to your new one.
The realtor is just the first layer in the home purchasing process, though they should be there to assist you the whole way through, from your first tour to the last signature on the deed. In addition, there are also a number of other people who are essential to the process, the most important being the home inspector. This person is hired to make sure your new house is not coming with a surprise crack in the foundation, a termite colony in the walls, or a leak in the roof. Usually your realtor, who should have some experience and contacts in the local home inspection industry, will choose them for you, and at the end of the inspection you should receive a breakdown of every issue the house faces that could have an impact on the property’s value or longevity.
Though these represent only some of the precautions that should be taken before purchasing a house, they are among the most common issues that home buyers have to worry about when making their purchases. Ask a young couple out house hunting what their number one criteria is after the physical condition of the building itself, and more than likely you will hear some sort of description of the house’s location, whether in terms of its proximity to a big “hub”-type city, its location in a top-tier school district, the area’s rising median home value, or the fact that the neighborhood is well known for being friendly and inviting for young children. These semi-intangible aspects of the condition of a given piece of property are undeniably influential in determining the value of a house. The same exact house in the same exact condition will be valued differently depending on the quality of the surrounding school districts, the level of urbanization, recent changes in the median home value, and the local and state property tax levels.
If you’ve recently decided to buy a new home, research is the name of the game. Knowledge is power, and a well-informed buyer will always have the upper hand in a transaction as large and important as the purchase of a home. Part of your job is to hang back and simply make sure things go smoothly while the realtor, home inspector, attorneys, and other parties do what you will be paying them to do. As they map out all of the issues you must deal with, you will be using the information they give you to determine if this house is the best house for you and your family, and that responsibility is never fully discharged until you sign the last line on the closing paperwork. Until then, certain precautions must be taken to make sure you end up in the best possible position no matter what decision you make.