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5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Home

Posted by Scott Layson on March 10, 2015
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pitfalls to avoidBuying a home should be an exciting time in anyone’s life.  The process can turn from exciting to stressful very quickly if you’re not aware of potential pitfalls.  To ensure that your new home purchase goes smoothly, here are 5 additional issues we research when assisting our clients with their home purchase.

1.  Verify School Districts

Finding a home in a great school district is a common top priority for many homebuyers.  What would you do if you bought a home thinking it was in one school district, only to find out it was actually zoned for another?  This is a real possibility as school districts can change over time.  Luckily, there is an quick and easy way to determine this.  Don’t just rely on the MLS information.  Make a call to the county school board to verify that the address is located in your desired school zone before making an offer on a home.  Go a step further and call the school itself to ensure the information is accurate.

2.  Verify Square Footage

A good amount of a home’s valuation is based off of square footage.  Surprisingly though, we have found that the square footage listed in the MLS is not always accurate.  We’ve seen in the past that this information can be off by a couple hundred square feet.  This makes a huge difference on what a home’s value should be based off of price per square foot.  Always double check the tax records to verify that the square footage matches up with what is listed in the MLS.  If you find a discrepancy between the tax records and the listing information, we suggest hiring someone to measure the home during your inspection period.

3.  Look Into Deed Restrictions

You just purchased a new home, only to find out that there is a condition that restricts you from having pets on the property.  Your pooch is probably not going to be very happy about this.  Deed restrictions are used to restrict how a property is used and are usually written by the developer, builder, neighborhood or HOA.  They can cover building additional structures on the property, parked cars in the driveway, paint color of the home and yes, even pets.  We have had many clients who loved a home, but moved on to another property because the deed restrictions were not in line with their needs.  Before signing the dotted line on a new home, make sure you review the deed restrictions to see if it conflicts with your way of life or future plans for the home.

4.  Easements

Easements can create possible issues for you if you’re not aware of their existence on your property.  An easement is a right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose.  You will commonly see utility easements that cross through a property.  Usually this is not a big issue,  but you need to be aware if there are any located on your property before building a fence or any other structure.  For example, let’s say there is a power line easement on your property.  If you build a structure located on that easement, you would be forced to remove it in the event that the power company needed to run lines across your property.  Have your real estate agent pull this information for you, so you can avoid ay future headaches.

5.  Verify Bedrooms

This may seem a little silly, but we actually ran across an instance like this where the home was advertised as a 4 bedroom, but was actually a 3 bedroom home.  At first glance, the information seemed correct, but we quickly noticed that one of the rooms did not have a closet.  In order to qualify as a bedroom, the room must have a door, a closet and an egress window located in the room.  The house in question had all the requirments, except a closet, which was located outside the bedroom.  So, this rightfully became a deal killer for our buyers who were not about to pay additional money for a bedroom that did not exist.  Also, if our buyers had decided to purchase the home, they would have had to list it as a 3 bedroom if they ever decided to sell it down the road.

Taking the time to verify these possible roadblocks can help prevent major headaches in the future.  Contact us if you have any other questions about what to look for before purchasing your new home.

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