Home Sweet Home…Or is it? 10 Things Buyers Should Know
We’re not trying to sound like your parents, but there are some things in life that you’re better off just being told instead of learning from your mistakes. Buying a home is not the same as running to the store to pick up a pair of shoes or a new golf club. We’ll let you learn on your own that high heels hurt and that buying a new club isn’t going to make you as good as the guy in the commercial. But as far as homes go, take it from us, there’s stuff you need to know before you buy. There are probably a million other things we’d tell you if we had the time, but here are 10 that we think are the most important.
- Learn about the neighborhood – Buying a home isn’t just about the home itself. It’s about the area surrounding it. Where’s the nearest grocery store? Or mall? Or restaurant? Make sure it’s not going to feel like you’re “going into town” whenever you have to pick up a carton of milk. Also, if you have or plan to have kids, you should probably make sure the school district is decent. Check out www.GreatSchools.com to read reviews on schools in pretty much any area. Just because the house is a dream come true, doesn’t mean the neighborhood’s not a nightmare.
- Be ready to commit – If commitment is not your thing, then neither is buying a house. Selling a house isn’t as easy as telling Nancy Jones that you don’t want to go steady anymore. Real estate statistics suggest that people rarely stay in a home for less than five years, so think about that before walking down the homeowner aisle and saying “I do”.
- Make sure the home looks beautiful in the morning… and at night… and at sunset… Basically, do some drive-bys. Remember Sally the Seller is going to make sure that her home looks perfect when you meet it for the first time. But the real test is how it looks when she’s not trying. You know, how does the house look in sweats and a t-shirt? You get the point.
- Get to Know the Neighbors – No, don’t creep like a door-to-door salesman, but if you see someone in the yard, ask them how they like living there. They’ve been living near your possible future home for the past however long. They know it. They also probably know if the basement floods every time it rains and how many times the deck has been rebuilt.
- Think about your future! Do you want to renovate? Raise the roof? Expand the master? How easy is this going to be? If this is in your plan or you even think it might be one day, find out how possible it is.
- Get a Home Inspector!!! Remember that time you thought, why should I pay someone to do something I can easily do myself right before you found out the answer is that you can’t easily do it yourself? This is one of those times. Google cannot make you into an expert home inspector. We have plenty of referrals on deck so call us and we’ll find someone to do this for you. You don’t want to leave any stone or crack or whatever unturned.
- Remember, renting is different than buying – The question is not just whether you can afford the mortgage. Think about all the things that can happen to a house and be sure you’re in a financial position to afford the unexpected. Find out average utility costs and taxes. The mortgage might seem great, but it’s going to seem a lot less great if the water bill is over $1000 a month.
- Taste Test it – Try everything out. Kitchen appliances, toilets, heater, air conditioning, showers, garbage disposal. Everything. Try it all and make sure it works. Buying a house isn’t about surprises. You want to know everything you can.
- What comes with it? A side of custom fitted drapes and a large brick mailbox? Be sure you know what’s staying and what’s going with the current owners. You’d be pretty upset on moving day if the stainless steel kitchen appliances that you fell in love with actually left with them.
- Get a real estate agent! Get a real estate agent! Get a real estate agent! We aren’t just saying this because we are agents. We’re saying it because it’s the best advice we can give you. Would you go in front of a judge without a lawyer? You need someone to represent you. Someone who knows what they’re doing. We don’t know everything about your job, so you probably don’t know everything about ours. And we’d love for you to pick us. We don’t mean to brag, but we are pretty great at what we do. However, if you won’t let us give you our help, at least take our advice. It’s the same thing we’d tell our friends.
Check out our other Atlanta real estate blog posts about other Atlanta homes we have for sale, more real estate advice, and things going on in Atlanta.
To see more photographs of our listings and many other great Atlanta homes, check out Blayne Beacham’s Blog, This Photographer’s Life. Blayne is an architectual photographer in the Atlanta area and her blog is one of our favorites.
Article by: Lindley Knight