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Real Estate Home Buyer's Checklist

Real Estate will likely be the largest investment you ever make.  Finding the perfect home requires patience, perseverance and preparation.  Here are a few of the items that Garth recommends to all of his clients, to ensure a smooth, happy and safe home purchase.

Before House Shopping

  • State your requirements.  Save time by deciding what you absolutely need.  How many bedrooms, garage, land for the dog.  If you have a collection of family heirlooms figure that into your square foot minimum. 
  • Determine how much you can afford. Set a realistic budget and save valuable time by looking only at the houses in your range.
  • Select a Realtor as your buyer’s representative.  See our Choosing a Buyer’s Agent.
  • Contact a lender and get pre-approved.  When you have pre-approval, you prevent surprises in the middle of your transaction.  This not only save you hassle, it makes your offer more attractive to sellers.
  • Work with your Realtor to narrow down the list of homes under consideration.

Considering a Specific Home

  • Perform a thorough walkthrough, possibly even two so that you see the home and it’s surroundings at different times of the day or week.  If possible, visit the house when it is raining.  This may uncover water problems or smells that you would not notice on a dry day.
  • Walk around the neighborhood.  Talk to the neighbors.  Who are they, and what do they like or dislike about the neighborhood?
  • Whether you have kids or not, you should visit the local school.  If you are not a parent but  would have concerns sending a kid to that school then you can assume that any buyer would have the same concerns.
  • Check with local police departments about the frequency and particular types of crime in your  prospective neighborhood.
  • If you are considering a home in downtown or near student housing, walk the neighborhood on a Friday night.  Is it quiet or are there parties on every porch?
  • Although we would prefer not to think of such things, you should also contact your local Police Department or Sheriff's Office For a complete list of registered sex offenders in your  prospective neighborhood.  This information is available on line.

In the Closing Process

  • Review all available documentation about the home, the development or the neighborhood.  If applicable be sure to Review homeowners association (HOA) governing documents, HOA Disclosures, CC&Rs, Affidavit of Disclosure, other disclosure forms including lead paint disclosure.  Be informed.  After closing, it may be too late.
  • Get a professional home inspection.  a professional Home inspection is very affordable compared to the cost of surprises in your roof, plumbing or other major hose systems.  The inspector will perform a visual physical examination, for a fee, identifying material defects in the home.  The home inspector will generally provide the buyer with a written report detailing information about the home’s condition. The inspector and the report will point out problems and possible potential problems. The buyer should carefully review this report with the inspector and ask the inspector about any item of concern.
  • Closely review any repairs or new construction.  Ask was the work done by a professional or is it a DIY job?  Ask your inspector to evaluate the work.  If there is any question as to whether the work is to code you will want to work with your realtor to contact the proper authority to determine the compliance of your prospective home and any liabilities where the home is out of compliance?
  • If you have any plans for your own improvements or expansions, work with your realtor to determine the complexity and overhead of getting approvals for your projects.  This can be especially import in Historic Durango or other areas where you must submit plans to a board or HOA.
  • Notify your loan officer that you've found a property so they can begin the appraisal and title process.
  • Lock in your interest rate. Your loan officer will send you a new good faith estimate which shows your monthly mortgage payment as well as your estimated cash needed for closing. The title company will notify you of the time and date you close on your home and the items you'll need to bring to closing.
  • Notify your phone company, utilities, moving company, post office, newspaper and magazines, friends and family of your change of address.
The preparations on this checklist will save you considerable time and help you find the right property.

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