HOME BUYING 101
Want to save a headache and/or money? Buying a house is a huge decision and often times Buyers tend to lose focus on the details or simply aren't aware of what they should be asking the Realtor.
Here are some very common home buyer mistakes that can be prevented.
WHAT STAYS? WHAT GOES?
When looking at houses to buy, most shoppers consider the major "check list" items such as the floor plan, neighborhood, fenced backyard, and so forth. There may be features that you fall in love with such as a home entertainment system, a nice BBQ pit, a hot tub, or a home gym. The big picture is what attracts you as a Buyer, but pay close attention to the smaller details. You may move in only to realize that the features you loved about the house have changed or been removed!
ATTACHMENTS - light fixtures, TV mounts, blinds, landscaping, mirrors, screen doors, etc must stay.
*Ex. - Curtain RODS stay with the home (attachment) but the fabric curtains can be taken.
APPLIANCES - stove, dishwasher, water heater, furnace, water tanks and filters must stay. Refrigerators and washer/dryers are personal property but can often times be negotiated into the deal.
There are many types of inspections that you can get done on a home as well as land. As a Buyer these are HIGHLY encouraged so that you know what you're getting into. You as the home buyer pay for them out of pocket up front, but in doing so you could save yourself thousands of dollars in repair work after moving in. This is also one of the few ways to back out of a deal should you not approve of the condition of the house (make sure your offer has a "home inspection contingency" written in it!).
HOME INSPECTION – This is the most common type of inspection for a home buyer. A seasoned inspector* will conduct a visual inspection of the entire house and give you a report with findings.
* Not all states require a home inspector to be licensed so be sure to read reviews or get referrals!
RADON - Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is known to cause lung cancer, especially in children and pets. A simple test can determine the amount of radon present in a house. If high enough, a mitigation system should be installed.
*Kootenai County and Spokane County are known for having higher amounts of radon!
SEWER – Sewer lines can be damaged or blocked (ie. clay piping that crumbles, tree root growth, baby wipes blockage, etc). A plumber can scope the pipes with a camera for inspection.
LEAD BASED PAINT – Homes built prior to 1978 have the potential for lead based paint.While uncommon, it is still your right to test for it.
ASBESTOS – Asbestos is fine if you leave it untouched. If you are considering a remodel however, you may want to have an inspector test for it.
MOLD – Only a few dangerous types. If it looks like possible mold, always call in a mold specialist.
FIRE PLACE - No matter the type of fire place (wood burning, gas, stove insert, etc) a professional inspection can detect unseen problems.
SEPTIC - For homes with septic systems you'll definitely want to get it inspected AND pumped.
*In Idaho and Washington real estate, it is very common to ask the Seller to pay for the inspection; although they don't have to agree to it. Make sure it's written in your offer though!
** Some lenders and/or types of loans may require a septic pump & inspection.
WELLS - Depending on how much water you use in your household, you may want to test the flow rate of the well (get a 4 hour test at a minimum). Any well below 4 gallons per minute may require an additional holding tank of some sort.
WATER - This type of inspection tests for water hardness, different minerals, etc. It can determine if you'll want a filtration system installed.