Part 2: How to Avoid the Most Common Buying Blunders
Get to Know the Neighborhood. One of the biggest mistakes new home buyers make is to fall in love with the home without taking the time to critically evaluate the neighborhood. Do your homework to make sure schools, amenities and other important factors meet expectations. Remember, it’s a decision likely to impact your entire family for years to come.
Always Obtain an Independent Home Inspection. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish by trying to save a few hundred dollars on an inspection. In fact, it’s often a good idea to pay out of pocket for inspections to ensure that you won’t be confronted with expensive repairs or hidden defects that the sellers weren't aware of.
Obtain Insurance Quotes Prior to Making an Offer. Obtain insurance quotes on each and every home of interest; two homes of the same age and quality of construction can differ dramatically on the cost of insurance coverage due to prior claims, neighborhood and other factors. Calculate the total cost of home ownership, not just the minimum monthly mortgage payment, when comparing homes.
Verify New Tax Rates. Don’t assume the tax rate enjoyed by the current homeowner will be your new tax rate; many areas have caps that limit the amount of property tax increases at any given time. If the seller has owned the home for several years, it is entirely possible the new tax rate may be substantially higher despite the recent reductions in sales price. There are a number of tax exemptions available for real estate, see this website for more details.