Let's face it – buying a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are exploring the real estate market for the first time.
As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to learn about the ins and outs of the housing market. By doing so, you can understand what differentiates a high-quality house from a subpar residence and proceed accordingly.
Furthermore, an informed homebuyer will know how to evaluate a home's exterior properly.
What does it take to conduct an in-depth assessment of a house's exterior? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should consider as he or she examines a home's exterior.
1. How do I feel about a home's exterior?
For many homebuyers, finding a house with an awe-inspiring exterior is a top priority. However, it is important to consider how you feel when you see a home's exterior for the first time.
A home's exterior should impress. At the same time, you need to evaluate a house's exterior in conjunction with other home features.
For example, a home may boast a massive kitchen and other dazzling interior features. On the other hand, a home's exterior may leave much to be desired.
Consider the pros and cons of a home's interior and exterior as you determine whether to submit an offer on a house. And if you need extra help along the way, be sure to consult with a real estate agent.
2. Will home exterior repairs be needed in the near future?
Examine a house's driveway, walkways and lawn as you conduct a home exterior evaluation. This will allow you to review the condition of these home exterior areas and determine whether repairs may be needed sooner rather than later.
Home exterior renovations sometimes can be costly and time-intensive. Thus, if you notice home siding that is cracked or other exterior issues, you will want to consider the time and expenses that may be required to fix such problems.
3. How much time will I need to commit to home exterior maintenance projects?
A home may have a beautiful exterior. In order to keep a house's exterior looking great, you'll need to conduct regular maintenance.
Consider what you will need to do to maintain a house's dazzling exterior as you explore all of the options at your disposal.
Will you need to hire a landscaping company to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Or, are you willing to commit the time and resources necessary to perform assorted home exterior maintenance tasks on your own? These are just a few of the home exterior maintenance questions to consider as you review a property.
Of course, if you need guidance during the homebuying process, real estate agents are available to provide expert assistance.
A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market knowledge and can offer real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a house – both inside and out – and making an informed homebuying decision.
When you decide that you want to buy a home, you probably hope it will all happen overnight for you. There’s some bad news though. It can take between 6 weeks and 6 months to buy a home! It could take even longer if you face a few roadblocks or inventory happens to be low in your area. There’s so many variables when it comes to getting a place to live that everyone has a different experience during their home buying process.
A Long Road
Even if you decide to buy a home today, and find a home you love tomorrow, there’s a bit of a “grace” period before you actually get to own the home. There’s many different steps that you’ll need to complete in order to successfully secure a home.
The first step that you need to complete when you want to buy a home is that of getting pre-approved. The lender will look at your debts, income, and credit history in order to get a complete financial snapshot of you. With this information, the lender will be able to tell you just how much house you can afford. This will be given to you in the form of a maximum loan amount. If your loan amount is $300,000, you can’t be shopping for $400,000 homes. The pre-approval process generally only takes a few days, but everyone’s circumstances are different.
Get An Agent
Before you even start on the house search, you’ll need to find a real estate agent who can help you on your home search and knows how to secure the home transaction. Do a little research on agents in your area. You can also ask around amongst your family and fiends to see if they have recommendations. Who you pick for your agent can have an impact on how smooth your home search process and transaction will be.
Start Searching For A Home
Start your home search online. With today’s technology, online home searches save those shopping for a home a lot of time. By simply looking at details and listing descriptions, you can narrow down the number of homes you‘d like to see in person. The online home search is a way to screen homes and eliminate the ones that you have no interest in.
It never hurts if you are driving around and see a “for sale” sign. You can take down the address and look it up later. If you’re interested, you can always set up an in-person showing with your realtor.
How Much Time Should You Expect To Spend?
When it comes to how long you’ll be searching for a home, you’ll need to be realistic. If you’re only doing casual weekend searches, it could take a bit more time than if you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule. Then, you have the final steps to look forward to which include:
- Mortgage underwriting
All of these final steps can take varying amounts of time from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Patience and diligence are indeed requirements when it comes to buying a home.
Although a home seller has already accepted your home offer, you'll want to employ a diligent home inspector to examine a residence before you finalize a purchase agreement. By doing so, you can identify any potential home problems that you might have missed during an initial house showing. Plus, a home inspection will allow you to find out if a home requires extensive repairs or maintenance and if you'll need to modify or rescind your original offer.
Hiring the right home inspector can make a world of difference for homebuyers. However, finding the ideal home inspector sometimes can be difficult, particularly for homebuyers who want to speed through the homebuying process.
So what does it take to employ the right home inspector? Here are three tips to help you do just that:
1. Review a Home Inspector's Qualifications
Learning about a home inspector's experience and skills is paramount. And if you devote the necessary time and resources to understand a home inspector's qualifications, you'll be able to find out if this individual is the right person to assess a residence.
Typically, you should try to find a home inspector who boasts construction and building maintenance expertise. Depending on where your home is located or your residence's condition, you also may need to find a home inspector who understands how to deal with asbestos, lead-based paint and other potentially hazardous conditions.
Be sure to conduct an in-depth evaluation of several home inspectors before you make your final decision. This will enable you to hire a top-notch home inspector who can help you identify and resolve any home issues before you conclude your home purchase.
2. Evaluate Sample Reports from a Home Inspector
Ask a home inspector to provide samples of past home inspection reports – you'll be glad you did! By getting copies of past home inspection assessments, you can better understand how an individual approaches a home inspection.
For example, does a home inspector provide clear information in his or her reports? And does the inspector offer notes that highlight home problems? Take a close look at a home inspector's past reports, and you can find out whether this individual takes a basic or comprehensive approach to his or her work.
3. Get Home Inspector Insights from Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent may prove to be your best resource throughout the homebuying process. As such, your real estate agent can put you in touch with home inspectors who have your best interests in mind and will do everything possible to conduct a thorough inspection of a property.
In many instances, your real estate agent may be able to offer multiple home inspector recommendations. This professional also can provide details about what to expect during a home inspection and how to handle any home problems that you might encounter as part of a home assessment.
A home inspection may seem like a tall task, but with a great home inspector at your disposal, you can improve your chances of obtaining the ideal residence.
Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.
Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.
A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.
If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.
Final Walkthrough Tips
As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.
If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.
To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.
Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.
Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.