PAUL HARVEY was a radio personality who was one of the best storytellers of all time. From 1976 until his death in 2009, Paul told a series of stories described as part mystery and part history. And each time he would end his broadcast with his famous line "and now you know ... (pause) ... the REST OF THE STORY".
When buying a house, your real estate agent will be able to tell you at least some of the story. They can tell you facts about the neighborhood that might include nearby schools, parks, grocery stores and public transportation.
The seller will be able to tell you some more of the story. Sellers, under most circumstances, are required to disclose everything they know about the house. The disclosure forms have yes/no questions such as ... Are You (Seller) Aware of any alterations or modifications on the Property?
While the disclosure forms might help jog a sellers memory, there is usually more information that can be acquired that could influence your decision in buying a house.
1) Talk to the neighbors. Ask them about noise. Ask them about community events. Ask them how long they have lived in the neighborhood and what they like the best about it. Ask them what they like the least about it.
2) Spend as much time as possible in the neighborhood at different hours of the day and night, weekdays and weekends. Maybe you were shown the house at 2:00PM on Sunday afternoon while everyone was inside watching sports. But what is the neighborhood like on Saturday evening? How about when everyone is coming home from work? Are there barking dogs, garage bands or planes flying low for a landing?
3) If you are buying an old home and it appears there have been some alterations, visit the City and County planning departments and ask about permits. Is that 4 bedroom house on record as a 3 bedroom? Was that patio always enclosed? Is there a permit on file?
When buying a house, don't just settle for some of the story. Do your due diligence so that you know ... (pause) ... the REST OF THE STORY.