Buying a home, or even renting one, can be incredibly daunting. After all, you're deciding upon the place where you will eat your meals, play with the kids, and shower for a long time. You don't want to pick the wrong spot -- it would be seriously disappointing if you shelled out all of your hard-earned money on the American dream, only to dread going home every day.
There are the questions you know to ask before buying a home (Are the schools good? Is it safe?), and then there are the things you may not think of. Here are 10 questions you should ask and things you should do before buying or moving into a new home.
1. Go to the prospective home multiple times -- at different times. If you're making the big decision to purchase a home, don't only go there once. The area may be quiet and peaceful in the morning hours, but be home to rowdy neighbors at night. You definitely don't want any unpleasant surprises like that.
2. Ask yourself: Would I like coming home to this after a vacation? The truth is, coming home after a nice trip is always a bummer. Everything is better on vacation. But you don't want to dread walking through your door after your week-long sun and fun getaway. I loathed coming back to my small, dimly-lit Brooklyn apartment after trips. There was never a sense of "ahhh" when I walked through the door. That's no way to live. You may not live in a beach house year-round, but your home should be your sanctuary.
3. Use your cellphone. Odds are it wouldn't be a deal-breaker, but getting no cell service can be seriously frustrating. Make a few phone calls before signing the lease or closing on your house. You want to know exactly what you're in for.
4. Turn on the shower and flush the toilets. Again, bad water pressure likely won't kill a deal, but it's nice to know about in advance. If you're buying a house, this will probably be covered in the inspection, but if you're renting, doesn't hurt to test these things yourself.
5. Don't let paint colors and people's taste dissuade you. The chances of you walking into a home that is painted and decorated to your exact liking are pretty much none. You have to use your imagination a bit when house-hunting. Envision what the home could be with your touch.
6. Think of resale value. At the end of the day, your home is more than your home -- it's an investment. Don't bite at the first place you like and that's priced in your range. Do your research. There's no such thing as a "deal" on a home. Yes, you want to like where you live and not pay a million dollars, but also, you want to make sure you can sell it when you want to.
7. Explore the neighborhood before purchasing. Before you put in your offer, go to lunch in your new potential neighborhood. Walk around a bit. You'll get a much better feel for the area than if you just ask some random guy who's walking his dog.
8. Determine whether or not your home is in a "flood zone" before making an offer. Flood zones require insurance and can make your mortgage go up significantly -- you want to know this before getting in too deep.
9. Don't let the little things deter you. So, you want a regular door for the bathroom instead of the pocket door that's already there. Big deal. That's easily something you can change at some point down the line.
10. Check out your potential town's Patch. Patch may not be the world's most professional news source, but it really is a great way to find out things going on in your potential town. Anything from festivals to crimes will be on the site. That's worth a look-see before signing the dotted line.
What other tips do you have?
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