BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
Homeowners can sometimes overlook things in the excitement to buy a property. When purchasing a property, there are a few red flags that you should be aware of:
1. Fresh paint on some walls
Some homeowners sometimes use a fresh paint job to hide problems with the house. If you find out some walls are freshly painted while others are not, ask the homeowner or the real estate agent some questions. Compare the answers of the seller with the agent to see if they match. Then compare the information with the seller's disclosure beforehand about any issues or past repairs with the property. If you suspect that the home contains some home renovations that you are not aware of underneath the fresh paint, then you should call an experienced general contractor to help you take a look.
2. Title issues
A home buyer or lender will carry out a title search while the home is in escrow. You should pay attention to the preliminary title report and check if there are liens, restrictions, encumbrances and anything else that could restrict how you can use the property. When doing due diligence during the escrow period, make sure you understand your rights as a buyer on the property and any third parties included in the title. As a rule of thumb, the longer a title report is, the more likely there's something there that you should know. A preliminary title report is an important document that you should go through. If you do not understand the terms on the title document, ask for help from your real estate agent or a lawyer.
3. Cheap flips
Today's real estate market is filled with people who are looking to make money from flipping homes cheaply. Be wary to avoid becoming a victim of a quick flip. Many houses are products of extensive renovations. Sometimes the contractors use substandard building materials that may have problems despite their shiny looks. As a buyer, you should check the kind of materials used in the home you want to buy. If you don’t know much about construction, hire a general contractor to help you inspect the home extensively.
Pay attention to the seller’s disclosures to identify any red flags that may be there and if they will cause you problems in the future. Consult with a real estate agent or lawyer to help you avoid issues with your home purchase.
Thinking of buying a new home, building your dream home or remodeling the home you have? Before you reach out to your nearest real estate agent, find a building contractor or raid your local do-it-yourself home improvement store, gather and refine all your ideas in one place by creating an idea book.
As the name says, an idea book is a collection of all the ideas you have for your new home or remodel. It should include notes about what rooms you need, but also include things like the style. Do some research online or in magazines to determine what features you like and with what kind of home style they go. Include pictures of these features in case they are called something different so that you and your professional help, be it real estate agent or builder, knows what you are looking for in a home. Think about colors, size, layout and everything else you can think of to create the perfect home.
Analog Idea Books
For many, this old-school method is the way to go. Get a notebook or a stack of paper and start writing things down. Then browse home design catalogs, real estate brochures and anything else you can get your hands on, cut out pictures and descriptions that appeal to you and glue, tape, staple or tuck the photos between the pages, so they don't get lost. If you'd rather see all your ideas at once, try tacking them to a corkboard or use magnets to stick your pictures and notes to your refrigerator. If you want to get extra extravagant with your idea book, get yourself a scrapbook with slip sheets and decorative pages.
Digital Idea Books
Websites like Houzz, Pinterest, and Photo Stream offer a way to keep your digital ideas all in one place. The photo collage layout of an online idea book lets you see your thoughts in one place like a corkboard, but organize them using folders and tags more like in a physical book. A lot of contractors and real estate agents prefer these online idea books since they are easy to share and help them understand what exactly you want.
Where to Start?
At first, you might think that it is just too much. There are so many styles, windows, furniture, and colors you simply don't know where to begin. That's just fine. Start with everything you like. Its easier to pare down your ideas once you've got examples of everything in front of you. You can help this process by grouping the ideas by room type: exterior in one place, backyard and landscaping in a second, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room all in their individual folders or collages. Its also a good idea to cross reference your likes and dislikes by color, feel and even which member of your family came up with the idea.
As you progress, you’ll start to notice you gravitate toward certain types and styles including specific windows, rooflines, and color schemes. When the same kind of drawer handles shows up in seven of your ten favorite bathroom cabinet styles, it’s a sign that you like that style a lot. You can go as specific as you want with your idea book, or you can leave your options wide open, but get some basic parameters around what you do and don’t like.
Once your book is ready, find your real estate agent or builder and show them what you want!