So you found your dream home. You're ready to put down an offer, pack your things and make that place your own. It's natural to be excited about finding a great property, but don't submit that bid just yet.
Even if your initial home tour went swimmingly, things aren't always what they seem. Ask your agent these questions before putting in an offer:
- What are the property taxes? Know how much can you expect to pay every year, and find out if you'll be eligible for any exemptions.
- Is there a homeowners association? Make sure you're aware of any HOA dues and rules, and decide if they fit with your lifestyle.
- How's the neighborhood? Thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to research the crime rate for your prospective neighborhood. Likewise, look into nearby amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants and parks.
- What's coming down the pipeline? Up-and-coming areas can be a great place to buy, as home values are likely to rise. You'll also get a culture influx.
- What are the utilities like? Ask about the average cost of water, gas and trash bills. And figure out what options you'd have for cable, internet and other wanted services.
- How long has the house been on the market? If it was listed a while ago, ask why it's been on the market so long. There could be an issue you're overlooking.
- How soon are the owners looking to sell? If the owners are in a hurry, they're probably more willing to negotiate on price.
Asking the right questions can help you make the best decision for your household and budget. Be thorough in the hunt for your new home, and talk through any and all concerns with your agent. The more information you're armed with, the better.
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