1. Find someone that is knowledgeable and reputable to represent you. Not only will you be working with person frequently but you are going to need to have a good relationship with your broker and agent.
2. Before ever placing an offer on a property you obviously want to do your due diligence. This not only includes visiting the property, but a number of other things. You definitely want to get a copy of the plat for the property and walk the boundaries of the property. While walking the boundaries of the property you should be on the lookout for any types of encroachments. If the boundaries of the land are unclear, you may need to pay for a survey before placing an offer.
3. It is always advisable to read all of the fine print, but more specifically, you should pay particular attention to the Seller’s Disclosure. Typically you receive this within five days of mutual acceptance of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. It is important to read this thoroughly as it is the case that you get your deposit back within three days if you read something that is not agreeable to you.
4. The best investment you can make before closing on a home is the building inspection. You do not want to skimp on the quality of the inspector and make sure that they come with good references and qualifications. There is an extent to which the building inspector can examine the home so just because the house gets a clean bill of health that does not mean that there are no problems. It will however bring to the surface any issues that may not be evident to the naked eye. If this is the case, you will want to determine how much damage is done by an individual specialist so that there are no surprises later on.
5. You need to make sure that the building is up to code and that all proper permits have been obtained for any improvements that may have been made on the structure. If proper permits were not acquired, you are liable for any fines or other repercussions that may come from not having one after you own the home.
6. Another important document that you should read diligently is the Preliminary Title Commitment. You usually receive a copy of this no more than ten days after the creation of the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If not, you will need to request this documentation. There should be separate documentation for easements, covenants, as well as any other agreements associated with the property. Important things to look out for are exclusions, as they are items that are not covered by the policy. In these instances, you can acquire additional coverage. If this is the case you will need to have a survey as well.
7. The terms of your financing are of particular importance. Even before you arrive at your closing, you should have reviewed all of your documents to ensure that everything is in order for the big day. You should never rely on the word of somebody. Make sure that everything is in written form and do not hesitate to seek advice from professionals, even if it comes at an expense. Performing the necessary actions before you buy will ensure that you are not met with any surprises down the road. Not to mention, you have a lot of leverage at the point in the game whereas after you own the house there is probably no going back.
Although buying a home can be a stressful and trying time, it is an event that is also extremely exciting. Regardless of how little experience you have in buying homes, it is a process that can be quickly learned if you are diligent in finding a good home for yourself.
With that being said, take it to be a learning experience and seek out knowledge whenever possible. It may seem troublesome in the short term but in the long term it will pay off with a house that you can truly enjoy.