WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING ON A COMMUNITY?
Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life.
Many people choose communities based on schools. Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local
facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you
find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors.
More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable in.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I'M FEELING EXCLUDED FROM CERTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS?
Immediately contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) if you ever feel excluded from a neighborhood or particular house. Also, contact HUD if you believe you are being discriminated
against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, or disability. HUD's Office of Fair Housing
has a hotline for reporting incidents of discrimination: 1-800-669-9777 (and 1-800-927-9275 for the hearing impaired).
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT LOCAL SCHOOLS?
You can get information about school systems by contacting the city
or county school board or the local schools. Your real estate agent may also be knowledgeable about schools in the area.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT COMMUNITY RESOURCES?
Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or
talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You may also want to visit the local library.
It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources, and the librarians will probably be able to answer
many of the questions you have.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT HOW MUCH HOMES ARE SELLING FOR IN CERTAIN
COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS?
Your real estate agent can give you a ballpark figure by showing you
comparable listings. If you are working with a REALTOR, they may have access to comparable sales maintained on a database.
HOW CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY TAX LIABILITY?
The total amount of the previous year's property taxes is usually included
in the listing information. If it's not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor's office. Tax rates
can change from year to year, so these figures maybe approximate.
WHAT OTHER TAX ISSUES SHOULD I TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?
Keep in mind that your mortgage interest and real estate taxes will
be deductible. A qualified real estate professional can give you more details on other tax benefits and liabilities.
IS AN OLDER HOME A BETTER VALUE THAN A NEW ONE?
There isn't a definitive answer to this question. You should look at
each home for its individual characteristics. Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods, offer more
ambiance, and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however, shouldn't mind maintaining their home and
making some repairs. Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems, are usually easier to maintain, and may
be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don't want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN WALKING THROUGH A HOME?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish
lists, use the HUD Home Scorecard and consider the following:
Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
Is the house structurally sound?
Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
Is the yard big enough?
Do you like the floor plan?
Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space?
(Bring a tape measure to better answer these qusetions)
Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair
or replace the items?
Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will
you be happy with it year 'round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your
real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint. Using the HUD Home Scorecard
to keep track of the homes you see is a great way to keep organized. (Refer to the HUD Home Scorecard)
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK WHEN LOOKING AT HOMES?
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance
issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet)?
Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller's or real estate agent's
answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they've given. Making a list of
questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The HUD Home
Scorecard can help you develop your question list.
HOW CAN I KEEP TRACK OF ALL THE HOMES I SEE?
If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major
rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don't hesitate to return for
a second look. Use the HUD Scorecard to organize your photos and notes for each house.
HOW MANY HOMES SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING ONE?
There isn't a set number of houses you should see before you decide.
Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, homebuyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure
to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you're looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.