If you are considering buying a home, there are some things that you should consider and look into before you put in an offer. Here we have compiled 10 basic things for you to check off before you decide on the house you are going to buy. Below is a sneak peek at the 10 checklist items to do before you become a home buyer.
If you are considering buying a house that is 30+ years old, it is very likely that some work has been done on it over the years. You can find the past permits of a property in the Reno area here. You should take some time to look at the past permits for the home and what repairs have been made over the years.
Depending on the city and location, permit rules may differ. That being said, have a Realtor help you look for permits if you are unsure how to find them or what to look for. Along with looking at repairs, be sure to make sure any upgrades or additions done to the home were permitted (or was something that didn’t require one).
HOA rules and regulations come in all different forms. When looking at purchasing a home, you should check if there is a Home Owner’s Association and if you are required to join it. After you find out that answer, get a hold of the regulations and by-laws of that HOA. This will allow you to observe any restrictions on your future property and figure out if it will constrain your plans with the home.
You will want to read the specific details of the HOA in the neighborhood of any property you are considering purchasing. This way, you will be ahead of the game by knowing the rules, regulations, and by-laws of that HOA area. If you hire a Realtor who is local and experienced, they will most likely have knowledge of the HOA rules in many neighborhoods. They should be happy to help you figure out what HOA restrictions are in your possible future home’s neighborhood.
A vital thing to check when considering purchasing a home is to research the future area plans. It would be a major bummer if you bought a home with a beautiful, open landscape behind it just to have that open area be turned into a parking garage, warehouse, or storage unit. If you do happen to find a home with a great open area next to it, it would be wise to look into if anything is being built there. If something is going to be constructed there, find out what is being built there. Sometimes you will find that information, sometimes not. In the cases that you cannot find future building plans near you, you will have to decide if the property is worth the risk or not.
It would be wise to look online for any information about future developments near your new home. Again, it may or may not be available as public information. Even so, do your best to find information on future developments and weigh out if your property is worth it even if you do lose that open area near to it.
We talked about researching the regulations of your future home’s HOA, but it is also important to check out the stability of it. Although Home Owner’s Associations are all run differently, almost all of them will have a budget. It is important to find out the financial status of an HOA before you purchase a home in its area. You don’t want to accidentally buy a home in a neighborhood that has a Home Owner’s Association that is going bankrupt. A good way to help avoid this is to have your Realtor ask the HOA for a fiscal report, and make sure it is not an HOA that is poorly managed. When an HOA falls apart in a neighborhood, it is very hard to have a new one implemented later on.
One major thing you want to avoid when buying a home is having to buy an air conditioning or heating system along with the house. You may come across a house that you like and find that it does not have an AC unit. In most cases - especially in the Reno area where we experience all 4 seasons thoroughly - it is vital to have an AC unit and heating system in the home. If you purchase a home that does not have one, it will be very expensive to add later on. You should determine whether or not the home has an AC unit and a heating system. If the house does have those, double check that the units are functional and able to provide cold air and heat to the entirety of the home. Make sure to address any HVAC issues in the inspection period of buying a home. By checking the HVAC in a home you wish to purchase and bringing it up in a contractual inspection, you are saving yourself a lot of pain and money in the future.
Having to replace a roof is a very expensive repair on a house. Depending on the size and type of the roof, it can get pretty spendy. That being said, you should observe the roof on the home and figure out what kind of condition it is in. It would be advised to have the roof of a house inspected before you buy it, to prevent having to repair it soon after. You want to buy a home that has a roof with no big issues and has a decently long life expectancy.
When you are considering buying a home, it is important to take a look at the school district zoning. If you have kids, it is very necessary to take a look at this. However, even if you don’t have kids, it is still an aspect of purchasing a home that you will need to look into. When researching this, take a look at the zoning boundaries of schools near you, and if those boundaries move around often. Your home value could be decreased due to what school is zoned to your home. Whether or not you actually have kids attending the school zoned to you, it could affect you. It is important to research your local school district and the zoning plans for the area around your property.
This is not always an issue, depending on where your future home is located, but is something to consider. In Washoe County, there is a limit on how many cats and dogs you can have. You can read about that here! Before you purchase a home, you should take a quick look at your possible new house’s regulations for pets and animals on the property. If you have pets, it affects you. If you do not have pets, it could affect the efficiency of which you can sell your home later on. Contact your Realtor to find out more about the pet restrictions in the area you are considering buying a home.
It is pretty common for people to check comparable sold properties (comps) before putting an offer on a home. This is usually observed to see the average price of homes in the area. However, it is also important to check the days on the market when looking at comps of your future home. By checking the usual amount of days on the market for properties in the area, you will be able to see where the house you are looking at sits. If the house you are considering has been on the market for 200 days and the average days on the market for the area is 50 days, it might be worth looking into why that property is taking so long to sell. It is quite possibly due to overpricing by the current owner, but it could also be due to an issue with the home. Before placing an offer, check if the property has been under contract or had an inspection, and why the property has been on the market for so long.
This issue may or may not be relevant to you, depending on how many vehicles you have and what area you are looking at. However, some neighborhoods have rules on how many cars can be parked in the street and/or driveway overnight. You should make sure to take a look at the neighborhood and area regulations on parking if you are considering buying a home there. There may even be parking rules placed in order by the HOA of the neighborhood you are considering. Just make sure to double check the parking rules for the house you are considering purchasing.
Thank you for reading 10 Checklist Items For Home Buyers - Before You Buy!
Check out our other blogs for buyers, and contact us with any questions!
Posted by Heath Montgomery