There are a magnitude of things to keep in mind when searching for a home for sale, and that is why it is easy to overlook some important considerations. Below are some of the most often forgotten considerations that may impact a home's selling price or even whether or not you choose to follow through with an offer.
A lot of people move into the house for the "here and now," but that isn't always the wisest course of action. Overlooked long-term factors can make a big difference in whether a specific home should be purchased.
Couples who have infants or toddlers or those who are planning to have children should take into consideration the quality of the local schools, for example. Other long-term factors may include the planned construction of freeways, commercial buildings, or industrial facilities that may bring unwelcome traffic or pollution.
Beyond the obvious financial variables such as mortgage payments, home insurance premiums, and property taxes, it is important to take a closer look at all the expenses that are incurred when a new home is bought.
Some of these less-visible expenses include:
Increased or decreased commuting expenses to a job that is now closer or further away
Higher or lower vehicle insurance premiums due to a new garage location
Personal services charges, such as alarm and lawn service subscriptions
Property Owners Association Covenants
Property Owners Associations (POA) can be a mixed bag for homeowners. They do tend to protect property values by seeking to reign in homeowner behavior that doesn't preserve values. However, that means POAs can also interfere with plans that you, as a future homeowner in that association, may wish to enact. The rules and regulations of a POA, known as the covenants, will tell you all you need to know.
For example, if you want to convert your home into an eventual rental property, be sure to check the POA covenants. Or, if you want a swimming pool, know what is required in the way of adjunct facilities such as dressing rooms, fences, or other possibly costly expenses, as another example.
There are lots of other ways that POAs can cost you a lot more than you may wish to spend, or they may simply infringe upon your lifestyle in unacceptable ways. Read the covenants carefully to find out all about it.
Verify Multiple Listing Service Data
The Multiple Listing Service may be considered the "holy grail" of real estate listing information, but that doesn't mean it is guaranteed to be accurate. That is why you should always confirm that what you see in the MLS is, indeed, true and correct.
For example, cross-reference square footage claims in the MLS with local or county tax records. Other information you may wish to verify include the existence or non-existence of a property owners association; you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises such as mandatory POA dues that you weren't prepared to pay.
Talk to the Neighbors
When you are looking at a home to buy, be sure to take a few minutes visiting with the neighbors on both sides, in front of, and even behind the home. They can provide highly informative commentary about the immediate neighborhood, and they also may tell you some things about the house itself.
Of course, be sure to weigh everything you hear carefully and evaluate it in light of other resources. However, don't dismiss the testimony of your (possible) future neighbors, as they may let you know about matters that can save you a lot of money and heartache.
Investigate the Area
Beyond talking to the neighbors, spend time investigating the neighborhood and broader community. There is a wealth of valuable information available on the internet, including crime data, sexual offender addresses, and other pertinent facts that can help you feel better about a potential home, or steer you to another location. Old newspaper accounts, often available at the local library, may lend helpful information about the recent and not-so-recent history of the area.