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What To Look Out For Before Buying A New Home

List RulesHome owners and real estate agents only: Vote up the most important things to look out for before buying a new home.

Buying a new home is stressful for any first timer, and the real estate horror stories out there don't make the experience any easier. Even if you have invested in a home before, there are probably plenty of things you forgot to ask about, many of which might have been a major headache later on. Regardless of your prior experience with home ownership, it's better to be prepared going in than assume you already know everything. 

Investing in a home requires a lot of trust and commitment. If you forget to check the plumbing up front or didn't take note of the foundation, you might end up with major malfunctions that can set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. To save you from the stress, this list of things to look out for before buying a new home details everything you need to know about a place before signing the deed.

Although the whole process can be overwhelming, knowing what to ask your realtor when buying a house is almost guaranteed to take away much of the pressure. Then, you can focus on making a decision with as much clarity and excitement as there should be.

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    Make Sure The Home Has A Solid Foundation

    Foundation problems are hard to fix, they decrease the value of the home, and they get progressively worse over time. You can tell if a home has foundation problems if there are uneven floors, cracks in the walls, or doors that stick in place or swing unnecessarily.

    The foundation of a home helps maintain its structural integrity. Loaning institutions generally don't close on homes with poor foundations, and repairs can be expensive. It's better to avoid the hassle than deal with it as a new owner. If the foundation has recently been addressed, however, the structure is likely stronger than ever.

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    Take Time To Literally Smell The Place

    One of the worst-case scenarios when buying a new home is finding out that smell doesn't go away. Look out for any fishy scents in every room, like smoke of any kind - smokey smells often linger - pet odors, mold and must, bleach, chemicals, or even an overwhelming sense that someone is covering up a home's natural musk with candles, plugins, and other products.

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    Get A Professional Home Inspection Done

    Home inspections provide you with a detailed outline of what to expect from the home you're about to purchase. They also act as a negotiation tool if you find any additional costs left unaddressed by the seller. Most inspectors cost between $300 and $500 and can be found via online tools that offer personal recommendations. 

    Make sure you know ahead of time what the inspector will and will not check for. You will want to be present for the inspection so you don't miss anything. Most inspectors will look at the structure's foundation, lot, roof, exterior, attic, basement, electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling system, and appliances, as well as checking the odor and looking for interior evidence of leaks.

    Make sure to ask the seller for a full disclosure statement prior to the inspection so you're aware of any unpermitted work by the owner by the time you've made your offer.

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    Visit The Neighborhood At Different Times

    House hunting sites like Trulia help you find the neighborhood you will be most comfortable committing to. Sites like this allow you to read local reviews, check out what the schools are like, compare crime rates, and note what the nearest entertainment hub offers. 

    A few things to consider when checking out a neighborhood are how your noise habits compare to those around you, whether you prefer to walk or drive, what the public transportation options are, whether there are any nearby parks, and what the local demographics are. Is it mostly families, college students, couples, etc?

    In addition to the online support, take walks at different times throughout the day and make sure you feel comfortable before making a decision.

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