So you’ve decided to buy a home and have started home shopping. This is probably one of the most thrilling moments you can experience in life.
Amid the excitement of looking for your dream home, you need to make sure you have everything covered. Many homebuyers make the mistake of overlooking certain details, only to be faced with bigger problems down the road.
To make sure you get to fully enjoy your new home with the least possible worries, keep an eye out on these less obvious but highly critical elements.
- How much will the home sell for in the future?
The reality these days is that most homeowners no longer stay in the same home for 30 years or so, as past generations did. There’s always a big chance that you will have to relocate in the next 5 or 10 years, perhaps due to job transfers or any other life-changing reason.
This means that the home you buy should make financial sense not only today but also in the next few years. Ask your Realtor how much they think the home would be worth in the near future, given the trends in the neighborhood. And stick to home elements that will make the property more saleable. Avoid features that appeal only to a few homebuyers, such as a quirky mural or loud wallpaper.
- Is all past work in the home properly disclosed?
Home sellers are required to disclose all improvements, renovations, or repairs they made in a home, including those that were carried out without the necessary permits. Any zoning or code violation must also be disclosed. Unfortunately, not all sellers are as forthcoming about these details as they should be.
As a buyer, make it a point to check and ensure that all previous work had the necessary permits and was done to code. If not, you may eventually find the need to redo everything to be compliant or to improve on an unsatisfactory job, and you have to do the improvements at your own expense.
- How does the homeowners’ association work?
Sellers are required to disclose if their property has a homeowners’ association, and buyers must have access to all HOA documents, including the HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Make sure you go through everything in these documents and ask yourself if you’re prepared and willing to abide by the CC&Rs.
In addition to that, dig deeper into the HOA’s reputation and overall culture. It’s not unusual to hear of HOAs that are too restrictive or even intrusive. Some have been tainted with corruption while others have a record of inconsistent policies or decisions.
- Does the home come with restrictions?
Other than CC&Rs, check if there’s any restriction that comes with a property. Watch out for deed restrictions that limit the number or type of vehicles you can own, the kind of fences you can build, the number of bedrooms you can have, and other similar provisions.
If the home is in a historic district, you may not be able to make changes without official approval, and any repair or renovation work must comply with strict guidelines.
Make sure to carefully go through seller disclosures, preliminary title reports, and HOA CC&Rs. A deed often includes a legal description which lists down restrictions. Review them closely and see how they may affect your future plans for the home before committing to its purchase.