Buying a home can be one of the most stressful and expensive experiences in a person’s life. This article is meant to save you at least some of the stress by making you aware of five top home buying deal breakers so you can avoid making costly, expensive or stressful mistakes.
In today’s economy price may be more important than any other consideration. Your new home purchase should fit comfortably within your budget or you are risking your entire financial livelihood. Just because you might qualify for the loan does not mean you can necessarily afford the price. You want to make sure you consider the entire monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, as well as utilities, regular maintenance costs and potential repairs. If you have to buy furniture, curtains, a home alarm system or other home related things you also want to make sure your budget allows for that (or find less expensive ways to meet your goals). Your total housing related expenses should not exceed 30% of your gross income. Living within your means is the way to go if you want to stay financially solvent and keep living in your own home.
Real estate agents used to joke that the most important three things for homebuyers to consider were location, location, location, although lately I’m hearing rumors that they’re changing that mantra to price, price, price. Even if location is now second in priority instead of first, it is still extremely important. If you buy a home in a high crime neighborhood, bad school district, near a super fund site (or other environmental hazard) or in a noisy, high traffic area not only might it be difficult to sell your home in the future but you might be miserable every day you live there. It’s wise to visit the neighborhood at various times of the day to check out the neighborhood culture (pay attention to noise levels, traffic patterns and any suspicious behavior). You also might want to meet your new potential neighbors. Inter neighbor conflicts provide a lot of business to mediation centers. Having a neighbor that trashes their yard or parks 10 cars on their lawn can bring down your property value. Better to find out before you sign on the dotted line and purchase the home.
#3: Home Condition
The house may have a fantastic layout but if there is major structural damage that’s a definite home buying deal breaker. Unless you have the budget and patience for extensive repairs (which always seem to cost more than estimated), you might also want to steer clear of properties with outdated electrical or plumbing systems, faulty roofs and leaky basements. Some kinds of mold removal can require extensive expensive repairs too.
#4: Strict Sellers
Personally, I think if a seller won’t allow you to have your own real estate agent, home inspector and/or lawyer, that’s a sign that they have something to hide and makes it a deal breaker. It could be that they just want to save (or make more) money but you should always be able to pick your own representation and you should never skip the home inspection.
#5: Legal Issues
You definitely want to do the title search. It’s important to ensure that there are no liens or any kind of outstanding debt related to the property. Also, be aware that if the sellers were facing foreclosure you really need to know the date of foreclosure. If it’s before your closing date (when you actually buy the house and assume all responsibility for it) that’s a deal breaker. You also want to do the property survey. Legal property lines aren’t always where the actual residents have staked out their own boundaries. It just might show that the hideous fence you think is on your side of the property and plan to tear down is on your neighbor’s side and they just love the rusty chain link look.
Hope you found my top 5 home buying deal breakers helpful in your journey to buying a home. I wish you all the best on your home buying adventure and hope you find a deal breaker free dream home!