Making the decision to purchase a house is a significant legal and financial choice. If a buyer is considering this step, he or she will benefit from doing the appropriate research first. Knowing what to expect from this process and preparing well allows one to protect his or her interests, possibly avoiding complications and the potential for financial loss after the purchase is final.
Before signing on the bottom line
There are certain questions to ask before buying a home that may prove to be beneficial when weighing the potential benefits and drawbacks of buying a specific house. The answers to the following questions may be useful before agreeing to the terms of a real estate contract:
- Can the buyer truly afford the home and potential upkeep costs? Remember, this goes beyond the cost to purchase the home. There are also closing costs, appraisal costs, moving expenses and mortgage insurance.
- What will utilities and insurance costs be? Insurance can be more expensive based on the location of the home.
- How long has the house been for sale? If on the market for a while, there may be a good reason no one else has stepped forward to purchase the property.
- What is the community like, and what is the price for comparable homes in the area? If the price is much higher than comparable properties in the neighborhood, it may be a poor investment.
- Is the home in a flood zone? Is it in a location often subject to hurricanes? Are there any other natural disasters common to this specific area?
- Does the home have any unpermitted additions or renovations? This could mean you are left to deal with a legal and zoning headache.
- Is the title clean or are there encumbrances? If not, you may need to make sure the seller resolves the issues before purchasing the home.
These are only a few examples of questions that a buyer will find useful before agreeing to the terms of a real estate contract.
Protect long-term interests
Buying a home is not a decision that is easily undone. The financial ramifications of this decision may be significant and asking the right questions ahead of time will help a buyer feel confident in his or her choices. It may also be helpful to discuss the transaction with an experienced real estate attorney before signing on the dotted line.