Tuesday, 17 July 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Are You a First-Time Homebuyer? 4 Precautions to Take Before Signing

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 13 February 2018 21:55

Buying your first home is an incredibly exciting experience. It’s so exciting that first-time buyers often jump into the deep end of the pool without first making sure the pool has water in it. Here are four precautions you must take before signing on the dotted line if you want to be happy with your home purchase.

Triple Check Your Budget

Crunch the numbers several times and make sure you really can afford the property you’re buying. Factor all of your costs into your plan, including closing costs, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Verify that you can afford the home based only on the income you have right now. Don’t include pending promotions, raises or other income sources that you hope to get. Counting your chickens before they hatch could get you into real trouble.

Get an Inspection

No matter how great a house looks or how many promises the seller makes, never buy a home without a home inspection. Hidden problems are often expensive problems and may require major repairs. Never assume that what you see is what you will get. Water damage, foundation issues, termite problems and structural damage are major cause of concern. They can be costly to repair and may be severe enough to render the home uninhabitable. After the inspection, follow the inspector’s advice. No matter how much you love a property, run away if that is what the inspector advises.

Verify the Details

Most first-time homebuyers work with a Realtor rather than going it alone, and this approach is recommended. If, however, you have an opportunity to buy a home privately, make sure you seek out professional advice before signing everything. Even if you don’t feel the need for a realtor, have a real estate attorney—such as those with Carter West—look at any and all documents relating to your home purchase before you agree to anything.

Read the HOA Agreement

When you think you’ve found the house for you, get a copy of the HOA agreement (if you’re moving into a community with an HOA) and read it thoroughly, if applicable. Some HOA’s prohibit you from renting out your home, which is problematic if you were planning to do so during military service or another extended absence. Others may prevent you from installing certain types of fencing or building an outdoor shed on your property. A neighborhood can even disallow certain dog breeds, forcing you to rehome your furry friend. Even if the house itself is perfect, make sure you can live with the HOA rules.

If you overlook these steps, your dream home can turn into a nightmare rather quickly. Doing these things before you sign on the dotted line will help make buying your first home the positive experience it should be.

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