Purchasing a new home in Virginia is a very emotionally charged process. It is easy to fall in love with a unique feature like a great kitchen or a beautiful master bedroom and then turn a blind eye to the “not so good” parts of the home. Now, every home is going to have something you wish was slightly different, but we want to share with you some red flags to be on the look out for when buying a home in Virginia.
Below is the first half of our two-part Red Flag Review for Virginia Home Buyers. Read through the list so that when you are ready to purchase your home, you are well equipped to sidestep any potential pitfalls.
Explore the neighborhood:
As one of the most important pieces of the home buying process, you would be best served to visit the neighborhood you are interested in at different times throughout the day. How does it look in the early morning when the kids are catching the bus? What about at night after dark? Also be sure to take note of the surrounding properties in the area. What is the overall feel – is it one of this being an up-and-coming neighborhood or are there some homes that are eye-sores, in need of a good amount of repair?
Purchasing a Fixer-upper:
Here in Virginia there are a number of homes that with a little TLC, could be turned around into something special. However, while these “fixer-uppers” can be had a discount, you must know EXACTLY what you are getting into before you take on such a project. How comfortable are you with the scale of the renovations? Are the costs to execute within in your budget? Will you ever be able to get that investment out of your home should you move one day? It goes with saying that if the cost to get the home to the point you are looking for exceeds the overall value when done, then you want to think long and hard about the purchase.
Home Inspection Issues:
While not necessarily required when buying a home, a home inspection can be worth the costs as they often uncover potential red flags that are easy to miss. Be alert for homes that are being sold “as is” and think about incorporating into your offer a rider that states the offer is conditioned on a home inspection. This can save you in the long run, and should there be any issues that come up you will have some leverage when negotiating with the seller.
Built on Additions to the Home:
Does the home have any built on additions? It is important to make sure that the work done was carried out to code, as any additions that were not built to to code can be extremely expensive to fix, affecting the value of the home in the process. For your safety you can take the extra step of contacting the city or county for work permits, giving yourself the opportunity to corroborate the seller’s claims with the city tax records. Of course, any work that looks shoddy or dangerous needs to be given weight in the purchasing decision.
Be on the look out for Structural Problems:
When going through the home, be sure to always check that the doors and windows open and close as they should. Any issues found here can also be an indication of structural issues found below the house. When assessing the foundation, be on the lookout for any cracks (the larger the more worrisome) on the outside along with cracks in concrete floors. Fixing structural/foundational problems cost thousands of dollars.
Check back next week for the second half of our Red Flag List for Virginia Home Buyers.