Buying a new home is a major financial and emotional commitment for most people. Doing your homework and research before buying a new home will insure you are happy with your purchase and afford the quality of life you desire.
After you've done the following.......
- Calculated your price range
- Found a realtor you trust
- Obtained a loan prequalification letter
- Narrowed down the approximate location
……….Use these tips to help you choose the perfect home for your needs
Put Your Senses to Work
As humans we use 3 senses to take in most of our information: sight, smells and sounds
Realtors are trained to show a home in the best viewing possible by turning on all the lights.
When going into a home, turn off all the lights to get a realistic view of the natural light in the home.
The smell of cookies baking or essential oils wafing through the air is a common occurrence when viewing a home. This may be designed to mask unpleasant smells might be a permanent part of the home or hard to get rid of. If this home ends up on your 'short-list', ask your realtor to take you back the next day when the cookies are done baking!
Everyone loves to hear soft background music playing when they enter a home. But this may be masking outside street noise. Ask to shut off the music and listen closely for outside noise that might be audible from inside the home.
Make sure to open the windows in the living area and bedrooms and do the same thing. When it's hot we all like to open the windows and this way you'll know if street sounds might distribe your peace and quiet.
Check the Size of Each Room
If you like to cook, you might need a larger kitchen. If you like to entertain, you might want a larger, open living area. If you are 'car guy' you might want a larger garage. Remember to to evaluate the size and layout of each room you enter and note whether they fit your individual needs. Also try to visualize all your furniture in home. Will it fit?
Envision the Possibilities
Try to envision all the possibilities. Is there enough room for a growing family? Can you remodel easily ? Can you add living space or enlargen the garage? What would the room look like with a fresh coat of paint?
Does the home have enough storage space for all your stuff? How about in the garage? Does it have rafters or enough room for your cars and your the treasures you just can't part with? Can you create more storage space by adding closets or a shed in the backyard?
Do you have cell service
Not all phone carriers have great reception in certain areas. Now that we've all eliminated our landlines, getting good cell service in your home is vitally important.
Look for Moisture and Foundation Issues
Windows/Doors - Make sure to inspect all around the window and door frames for signs of moisture and prior damage. Windows are expensive to replace. It's better to know before you buy if the windows might need to be replaced.
Walls - Inspect the walls of every room in the house. Look for cracks and water stains. All homes can have minor cracking, especially in Colorado where we have expansive soils which can cause movement in a homes foundation. Slight cracking can be normal, but severe cracking (and patching) can be a sign of something more serious ...and expensive to fix.
Ceiling. - Water dripping from overhead pipes or from the roof line can usually be detected by looking closely at the ceiling for water stains and prior damage. A roof that was not installed properly can start leaking over time and new roofs are expensive to replace.
Foundation - A home's foundation is probably the most expensive feature to repair. Because of floor coverings, sometimes its hard to see if there are problems lurking underneath. But a close look at the floor of the garage and around the base of the home's outside perimeter can reveal cracks which can a clue of problems.
The key to avoiding purchasing a home with moisture or foundation issues is to require a home inspection by a professional, as soon as your offer is accepted by the seller. You will want to know right away if the home has problems you don't want to repair.
Check Out the Neighbors
Having nice neighbors is a huge deal. Make sure to knock on the doors of all the near by neighbors. Introduce yourself.....you will be glad you did. What if the guy next door looks like a criminal. Or has a growling dog greet you? You'd be amazed what a neighbor can tell you about the history of your prospective home and the other neighbors. This could help you decide if you'd like living in that community, or not!
Check the Sex Offender Registry for Colorado
Who wants to live near a sexual predator? Thankfully Megans Law gives Colorado residents access to an online resource (at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation) to see if any predators live nearby. It's Called the CBI Sex Offender Registry
Check FEMA Flood Maps
The rules in Colorado don't make the seller disclose the need for Flood insurance on the Sellers Disclosure form. Unfortunately, you won't find out if your lender requires flood insurance until just a few days before the home closes. Make sure to ask the seller right away if their lender requires flood insurance AND ask your lender to look this up right after your offer is accepted, otherwise the lender only verifies the need for Flood insurance a few days prior to closing. Flood insurance is expensive and can even cost as much as home insurance... and sometimes more! Make sure you know the true monthly costs of owning this home upfront. The requirement to carry flood insurance can also hold down the home's equity appreciation.
Calculate the Monthly Costs of Owning the Home
Every month a homeowner pays utilities, taxes and home insurance. Make sure to ask the seller their monthly costs before you commit to purchasing a home.These costs are part of the financial equation of whether this is a home you can afford. You can also call the utility companies and get the billing history using the home's address.
Ask about Prior Home Insurance Losses
A homeowner who's filed multiple insurance claims in the past 5 years can be predictive of future home insurance losses and can give clues to possible construction defects of the home. Make sure to call your insurance agent and ask them to run a 'CLUE' report on the address. This report gives all the prior insurance claims on the home.
At Denver West Insurance Brokers we want to make sure our clients find their perfect home. We are here to help protect your home with the right insurance product for your needs.
Give us a Call today!
We are a local, independent insurance broker located on the west side of Denver in Golden Colorado. We also serve the towns of Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Morrison, Littleton, Genessee and Evergreen.