The excitement of purchasing a brand new home can often be overshadowed by the time and stress of having to make hundreds of decisions and oversee the work as the new house develops. Many people opt not to build nor to live in a neighborhood where new homes are under construction.
Sometimes prospective homeowners fall in love with an established community or features of an existing home.
Purchasing an existing home requires careful research. Prospective homeowners need to be ready to put the time into doing a thorough assessment of the home or homes they are considering for purchase.
If the house is not relatively new, purchasers need to think about the climate of the area and the thermal heating and cooling efficiency, the condition of the structure, roof, exterior and interior needed improvements. Other considerations include the state of the landscaping and how much maintenance and replacement will need to be done.
How well your purchase will hold its value in the real estate market where it is located is also a factor.
Ask yourself whether you and your family will be comfortable in this existing home. Can you afford the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, future home improvements, and upkeep on this house?
If this is a “fixer-upper” make sure you have budgeted for the things that need to be replaced. Consider repairs in stages from needed immediately, to nice…but. These considerations should include renovations, repairs, maintenance, and rebuilds; retrofitting things like kitchen or bathroom; upgrades to appliances or water systems, wiring and/or plumbing.
Before you make the final decision to purchase an existing home, have professionals come in to do an assessment of wiring, plumbing, water, and structure of the building. A thorough pre-purchase evaluation is an absolute must. This is not an area to economize. Spend the money to hire an experienced, professional home appraiser who is knowledgeable about identifying the home’s hidden problems.
Have this consultant advise you about the costs involved in rectifying problems or renovating. Or refuse to purchase until the present owner has fixed these problems to your evaluator’s satisfaction.
Make sure you get a guarantee in writing that any emergency work for a specified time period will be at the cost of the present owner who has guaranteed these things.
Once you have purchased, you will want to start on the wish list you created when you first looked at this dream home. Your realtor can be a good source of information about renovations and local tradespeople.