Hi Fools,I borrowed this for the boards from one of my competitor's free email newsletters. In fairness, her name is Diane St. James, and the author of this piece is B.C. Marcus. I enjoyed it, and thought you would too! It covers a lot of stuff we've done on these boards, but it's always good to read the great stuff again...3. THINGS ALL HOME BUYERS SHOULD DO, BUT MOST DON'T----------------------------------------------------------------------Things All Home Buyers Should Do, But Most Don'tby : B.C. Marcusbcmarcus@aardvarkjunction.org1. Ride the Neighborhood in the Early Evening: By doing this youyou will see the people who live in the area and how they live. Youwill see the condition of the cars, and if any conditions exist(loitering, loud music, etc...) which you may find objectionable.2. Get a Home Inspection: Many home purchasers bypass thisstep because it will cost them a couple hundred dollars. However,a couple hundred dollars up front will let you know exactly whatyou are buying and reveal any problems you might not havenoticed on your walk-through. Real Estate Appraisers are not Home Inspectors. Appraisers make only a casual inspectionof the property and are not trained to identify any problems otherthan the obvious. Do not rely on relatives who are contractors.If they are wrong, they probably won't have Errors and OmissionsInsurance for you to file against. Get a professional Home Inspector.3. Visit the Local Police Department: Police Departments knowthe crime in an area better than anyone. Many will even printyou a report of the crime history of a neighborhood. Once youbuy a house, you are stuck with the neighborhood whether youlike it or not. While you are at the Police Department, if youhave kids, ask for a crime report on the school your child will be attending.4. Check the Sexual Offender Register: Do you want to livenext do to a child molester or rapist? Few of us do. The localSheriff's Department will have a list of all sexual offendersliving in the area.5. Check with the Local Road Department: Do you want tomove into a house and later find out there are plans to run afreeway through you living room the next year, or there arechanges planned that will turn your nice quiet cul-de-sacinto a thoroughfare?6. Check with the Local Zoning Board: The woods nextdoor may be beautiful, but they may not appear so beautifulwhen you find out the land is zoned for a strip club, saw mill,convenience store, or apartments. Most cities and countieskeep a wall map you can look at and tell in a few minutes ifthere are any allowed land uses you would find objectionable.7. Obtain a Utility Cost History for the House: Most utilitycompanies will print out a history of the utility costs for theproperty. High utility costs can be the result of an undergroundwater leak, a malfunctioning furnace or air conditioner unit,or lack of proper insulation, among many other causes. None of these are cheap to fix.8. Talk to the Neighbors Before You Sign the Contract: Often,neighbors will know more about the house than anyonebesides the previous owner. They will also know about theneighborhood. Tell them you are interested in purchasing the house, and find out what they know.9. Research the Former Uses of the Land and the AdjoiningLand: Was there an old gas station down the road at onetime? Was there a factory nearby years ago? Was therea town dump around the corner back in the 1930's? All of this is important. Soil and water contamination from aproperty a mile away can affect your health and the resalevalue of your property. The Environmental Protection Agencypublishes a list of hazardous sites. You may be surprisedat how many are located in your area.10. Add to the contract that the Seller will furnish to youfor your review all plans, specifications, surveys, warranties,appraisals, or other information he has in his possessionregarding the property within a specified number of daysof signing the contract. Additionally, the contract should state that, upon purchasing the house, these documentsbecome your property.There are all kinds of hidden problems you may not findabout until it is too late, unless, of course, you do yourhomework. The key is information. You cannot have toomuch. Question anyone who might be familiar with thearea or the property. Real estate agents often know verylittle about the house or the neighborhood. Sellers willusually keep their mouths shut and reveal no more thanwhat they legally are required to reveal. It is up to you todo your homework.(C) 2001, B.C. Marcus - Atlanta, Ga.About the author:B.C. Marcus' experiences include real estate investing,developing and sales, as well as ownership interests and management responsibilities in a number of smallbusinesses in a number of industries including self-storage, hospitality, advertising & marketing, insurance, networkmarketing, specialty contracting, light manufacturing,web marketing, and retail, among others. Mr. Marcus also served seven years as an elected official.He has written several books including "Rental Secretsfor Tenants - Georgia Version," and "Simple Secrets ofBuying Rental Properties". A list of books by B.C. Marcus, as well as a list of his articles is available at: http://www.aardvarkjunction.org/featured/bcmarcus/
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