If you are a first-time home buyer, it is easy to let “wants” get in the way of reality or to ignore factors that may make a major difference. Instead, try each of the following suggestions to learn more about your potential home:
1. Visit at different times of the day to observe the noise level, the way the sun shines on the lot and into some rooms/ windows, and the amount of traffic that goes past the house.
2. Talk to the neighbors and learn if they are young families or retirees and if they are owners or renters.
3. Ask if the sellers had problems with the house- with water in the basement, ice dams, or leaks, and take preventative measures rather than experience disasters.
4. Have the house inspected to learn what needs repair soon, what can wait, and attempt to negotiate a lower price if needed. Also have radon and wood-eating pest tests done.
5. Ask for records on past improvements.
6. If you are considering immediate remodeling, inquire of seller or contractors if previous improvement would impede your plans.
7. Inquire about utility and heating/cooling bills.
8. Check with town hall regarding zoning liens, easements, or other restrictions. If it is in the shoreline zone, many rules must be followed.
9. Scrutinize the neighborhood- is it all residential or partially commercial? Is there a fire station nearby? Would the noise of an airport bother you?
10. Learn the cost of property tax, insurance and mortgage, as well as the closing costs and any capital gains tax.