Whether you are a 1st-time home buyer or an experienced owner, buying a house requires a lot of forethought and checklists in order to keep your sanity. And since it is not an everyday or even yearly occurrence here’s a concise list of important things you should do.
Get a Professional Home Inspection
A qualified home inspector will uncover problems with the houses you can’t see. Some of the most common problems involve plumbing, cooling and heating systems, leaky roofs, kitchen appliances, and cracked foundations. No you cannot save money by having your uncle te contractor do it for free but by all means invite him to attend the professional inspection.
Pay for Extra Inspections
In Philadelphia it is common to include wood boring insects (termites) and Radon and well worth the extra money. Termites are everywhere in the city and Radon can occur on a house-by-house case.
Get Title Insurance
If you’re financing this isn’t a choice, you can’t close without it but sometimes cash buyers want to save a little by skipping it. It protects you from forgery, fraud, encumbrances, judgments, and permit violations. Title insurance insures the past, you pay for insurance once only when you buy and the policy is good forever. Never. Ever. Worth taking this short cut.
Home Owners Insurance
Make sure that you get a quote from your insurance agent so there are no surprises. Some insurance companies don’t like flat roofs and will want a roof certification from a licensed roofer. Some insurance companies hold previous claims against the property and you will likely pay more than you were expecting. Really these are non-issues and can be dealt with very easily as long as you know ahead of time.
Visit the property
It’s a good idea to check out the property during rush hour and on Friday or Saturday night. It’s the only way to see what the next door kids are like, how traffic is on the weekends, and how noisy it really gets. If you see any of the neighbors, it’s a great idea to talk to them and ask them questions – in my experience they will tell you everything you want to know.
Read the Sellers’ Disclosure Carefully
The Sellers’ Disclosure should have been given to you by your agent before you submitted your offer. The seller is required to list any material defects that are known at the time of sale. If they don’t disclose the defect, they’re subject to suit. It’s imperative before signing this form that you thoroughly read it and if there are questions about any of the items have your agent go back to the sellers’ agent for clarification.
Do a Final Walk-Through Inspection
4-5 days before closing you definitely should revisit the property to ensure that it’s in the same condition as when you made your offer and that any stipulated repairs have been completed. Make the final walk through no sooner than five days before you intend to close and depending on the situation sometimes we also do another walk-through right before closing.
These websites are potentially helpful for your research: