Purchasing an existing home can be daunting with so much to evaluate before making an offer. For a smooth purchase process, arm yourself with key information ahead of time. Here are top recommendations for buyers entering the market for completed homes.
Schedule a Home Inspection
Hire a qualified home inspector to do an exhaustive evaluation of the property. They will assess everything from roof to foundation, providing unbiased insight on condition. Attend the inspection to observe issues firsthand and ask questions. Use the inspection report to request repairs and negotiate the offer. This upfront analysis prevents unwelcome surprises down the road. Focus on big ticket items like roof, electrical, heating and cooling systems.
Verify Permits and Renovations
Request documentation from sellers detailing all permits pulled for work done on the home. Confirm any major renovations like additions used licensed contractors and secured proper permits. Review invoices to judge quality of materials and workmanship. Ensure large projects were completed legally to avoid headaches. Also validate no illegal additions by checking municipal permits.
Check Condition Thoroughly
Carefully inspect for signs of wear like damaged floors or cabinets, cracked grout, peeling paint or corroded fixtures. Make notes on condition as it informs negotiations and budgets for renovations you’ll want done. Consider upcoming maintenance like exterior painting. See if issues reflect normal aging or poor construction quality. Determine remaining lifespan of components. Assessments prevent surprise costs.
Operate All Home Systems
Turn on all faucets, appliances, HVAC and lighting systems. Check water pressure and flow. Test garage doors, security systems and any smart home tech. Listen for odd noises and confirm outlets and switches work properly. Verify appliances are functioning. Review age and capacity of hot water tanks, furnace and AC units. Vetting everything identifies underlying defects the owner may not disclose.
Scrutinize Condo Status Certificate
For condos, meticulously review the status certificate for insights on financials, lawsuits, reserve fund, owner responsibilities, rental rules and other bylaws. This protects against restrictions or special assessments. Check for adequate reserves, increasing fees and other red flags. Examine board meeting minutes. The certificate provides a complete picture beyond just the unit.
Budget for Improvements
Assess the costs for upgrades to match your lifestyle. While functioning, older kitchens or bathrooms may not suit your taste. Factor in renovations to make the space your own. Similarly, identify energy efficiency upgrades like new windows and insulation. Budget for enhancements that increase enjoyment and functionality. Plan any phased remodeling wisely.
Find a Buyers Agent
Work with a real estate agent who represents you as the buyer, not the seller. They’ll guide negotiations, contracts and inspections. Leverage their expertise on pricing, values and market conditions to make the optimal offer. Agents provide access to more listings and objective perspective. Having an exclusive buyer’s agent is extremely advantageous.
Doing due diligence when buying a resale home ensures you make an informed purchase. Ask the right questions and exercise patience upfront to avoid issues later. This leads to a smooth ownership experience.