How To Avoid Surprises When Buying A New Home

Posted by Tereesa Admin on Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 2:31pm.

Buying a new home should be an exciting time for you. What you do not want are some bad surprises that sometimes go along with the home buying process.

It is not funny when you find out that the house you just bought has squirrels living in the attic or the house has a leaky roof that has been leaking for a long time, or that water is spraying on the wall behind the tiles in the bathroom and as soon as you lean against it first time, the whole wall collapses. Or what if your new home is located in a bad neighborhood where drive-by shootings are a part of your Saturday night entertainment?

How about a different kind of surprise? You go to the closing and the contract you signed has some fees attached that you missed reading because it was buried in the fine print and you are responsible for several hundred dollars that you were not expecting to have to pay.

What about moving into your new home only to find out there are no appliances because you didn't read that the former owners were taking the stove and refrigerator with them? Or finding out that the storage shed in the back you thought you were getting is now gone? Or discovering that all the ceiling fans were removed?

These are the kind of surprises that new home buyers do not want. There are ways to avoid surprises like these.

First, learn about the neighborhood before you agree to buy a home. A quick Google search will take you to the chamber of commerce site which will tell you all the good things about an area. The chamber of commerce wants to sell the city, remember. Find the local newspaper and read it. Most newspapers in the US have online versions, so reading the newspaper several days in a row may give you an idea about an area of town, particularly if it is a bad area of town.

Detailed statistics on any town can be found at This site covers every major city in the US. For weather information, go to Additional information can be gotten from the chamber of commerce or from a local Realtor. Write down your list of questions before you call so you will not forget to ask something that is important to you. Ask about libraries, jobs, crime, shopping and restaurants, schools, parks, or anything else that interests you. When asking about neighborhoods, a Realtor or a city official may be reluctant to tell you if an area is bad. Ask some questions and then read between the lines when they answer: Where are there a great number of rentals? Where is the oldest section of town? Has it been restored? Is there a college or university in the area?

If you are able to visit a town before buying, drive around to find an area you may like. If you see someone outside in that neighborhood, stop and talk to them for a few minutes. Go to a local tavern or bar and talk to the people in there. You can get a lot of insight into an area this way. Just remember that people sometimes exaggerate, but you can still get a feel for an area.

It is a good idea get a home inspector's check list and take it with you while viewing a home. Use it as your guide to things to look for when viewing a home. You can pass any information you may find onto the property inspector.

Once you are fairly certain you want to buy a home, walk around the block and see if there is anyone outside that you can talk to. They will tell you about noisy neighbors, recent crime and other interesting information.

The most important thing many potential home buyers is to always have a lawyer look over the contract before you buy a home. This cannot be stressed enough. Always have a lawyer look over your contract before you sign. They can explain the contract to you, using simple terms that you can understand and you will avoid many legal surprises that way. You will know if the former owners plan to take the refrigerator, ceiling fans and the storage shed out back. Also you will know about any hidden fees or at the very least, you will know exactly what you have to pay at closing.

The folks at Chandler Realty Licensed in Norfolk, Virginia, can help you with every step of your home buying process, including helping you determine if it really is the right time for you to buy.

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