Whether you’re buying a house for the first or nth time, doing your research is always the starting point. It will help you avoid committing a rookie mistake or succumbing to another pitfall.
Let me run through the bare essentials. Here are the top things you should be looking into before putting an offer on a possible new home.
1. Assess your finances
Even if you can afford a luxury home, you should always consider every purchase as a serious investment. As such, it’s important to crunch your numbers.
- Shop around for the best home loan rates. Choosing the right one can save you tons of money and worries in the long run.
- Unless you’re paying in cash, get a lender to pre-approve a mortgage before you can make an offer on a home.
- Consider the additional costs while securing a mortgage and when starting to make monthly payments, which include:
- Property taxes
- Home insurance
- Homeowners association fee
You can talk to your agent and do your own research on how much each costs, so you’ll have an idea of your expenditures on your new home.
2. Check the location
Keep in mind that you’re not just buying a house but also moving into a neighborhood. Beyond the aesthetics, the community the house is in should offer security, livability, and accessibility.
When researching the location, remember to check:
- How safe it is. Sites like NeighborhoodScout and AreaVibes may provide you with crime stats and other security concerns. Browsing local news sites, talking to residents, and walking around the neighborhood may offer clues as well. Having a frank discussion with your agent helps, too.
- How quiet it is. Unless the home you’re interested in lies in the middle of considerable acreage, you may want to make several visits to the area to see if it’s not just nice and quiet during specific times. Pay attention to places that may create extra noise or traffic.
- How accessible it is. If you don’t intend to use your car to commute to work, find out if there are bus stops and train stations close by. Likewise, consider the facilities for hiking paths and bike lanes.
- The amenities it offers. Where to find nearby shops, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and the like for your convenience.
3. Go on virtual tours
To get the feel of what’s on the market, say the homes for sale in Pasadena, CA, you may want to do a walkthrough. This will give you the experience of visiting the house without actually going there.
During a virtual tour, be attentive and inquisitive. Take note of every nook and cranny that you see. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to the home seller and clarify details. Part of your research is determining possible problems involving, for instance, sewage and heating/cooling systems.
4. Order a home inspection – and then some
You may opt for a home inspection performed by a licensed professional, who will:
- Determine structural soundness
- Identify safety issues
- Estimate budgeting repairs
Don’t forget to book pest control inspections, too – just to make sure you’re buying a house that’s free of unwanted occupants.
Your research should cover the home’s built-in appliances, security systems, and/or smart home systems. Check if everything works as they should.
Yes, buying a house can be daunting – but also exciting! Make sure the property you purchase is worth your investment.
If you’re thinking of buying a home in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Glendale, Pasadena, Altadena, Monrovia, Arcadia and Sunland/Tujunga in California, contact me, Kathy Seuylemezian. Call 818.949.5205, email Kathy(at)imuragent(dotted)com, or send your message here.
Being in the Top 100 of Coldwell Banker’s Residential Brokerage in Southern California, I’m here to help you find your ideal home.