Avoid Some of the Pitfalls of Buying a Home! Helpful Hints from Arizona Department of Real Estate for Buyers – Part One

by Teri Ellis on August 3, 2011

Property Buyer’s Checklist

Much of the time Buyers don’t always do their due diligence. Hopefully your REALTOR will educate you, but just as a quick head’s up, I’ve shared some helpful hints for Buyers in order to help avoid some of the pitfalls of purchasing a new or used home, or raw, undeveloped land.

Previously Owned Homes

1.  Be aware that the seller’s broker does not represent you; the seller’s broker reprhouse6esents the seller. The seller’s broker has certain responsibilities to the seller that are not afforded to you. You might wish to retain the services of a buyer’s broker to represent you in the transaction. Usually, the buyer’s broker receives a portion of the commission paid by the seller, and the services may cost you nothing, but you will receive representation equal to that provided to the seller by the seller’s broker.

2.  Read the seller’s property disclosure report (SPDS), and check every item on it. Ask to see receipts for repairs to the home. Look behind large pictures on the wall and behind anything on the floor which conceals large areas of the wall. Look for stains on the ceilings or carpets that might indicate water damage. Read the purchase contract carefully to determine if there are any deadlines for challenging the seller’s disclosure report or for having your own inspections conducted.

3. Order your own termite inspection. It will cost about $30-$40. Don’t rely on a termite inspection termiteobtained by the seller. Some sellers have been known to cover up termite infestation by having several inspections done until they obtain a report that shows no infestation.

4.  Consider having the home inspected by a professional home inspector. It will cost perhaps $300 to $400 – depending on the size of the home. More if you want the pool inspected. It is money well spent. For instance, the owner may not know that the roof is rotten and must be replaced. If any alterations have been made to the home -  the addition of an Arizona room, for instance – ask to see the building permit. Make sure the alterations are legal.

5.  Check all appliances to confirm that they work, including the stove burners, oven, garbage disposal, dishwasher, washer and dryer and the water heater. appliances1

6.  Run water in all sinks and tubs and flush the toilets to make sure they drain properly. If the  landscaping includes an irrigation system, check to see that it works.

7.  Drive around the neighborhood and observe the condition of the homes. Are lawns mowed? Are there old cars rusting in driveways? Ask neighbors how they like living in the area. Is this really where you want to live?

8.  Before yoneighborhood1u sign a purchase contract, drive around the home for at least a mile or more in every direction to see how the surrounding area appears to you and what land use of safety issues exist in the area. Is there a storm drain or canal nearby that might pose a hazard to your children? Is the home or building site near an airport or a manufacturing plant? Visit the area at different times of day, on weekends and in the evening. Disturbing noises and odors can travel farther at night.

9.  In areas where there are expanses of vacant land nearby, check city or county zoning maps to see if nearby property is zoned for apartments, industrial or commercial use. Land zoned for commercial use might be used to construct anything from a shopping center to a hotel. To obtain this information, call the city or county planning and zoning department listed in your telephone directory.

10.  Check Arizona Department of Transportation maps to find the nearest future freeway routes, and whether roads in the area are slated for widening. For information about reviewing the maps, call 602-255-7011.

11.  Call the school district serving the subdivision to determine whether nearby schools are accepting new students. Some school districts have placed a cap on enrollment. You may find that your children cannot attend the school nearest you and may even be transported to another community. HOA

12.  I’ve dealt with this in another post, but as a reminder: READ the deed restrictions, also called CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions). You might find some of the CC&Rs are very strict, especially those addressing landscaping, RV parking, play equipment, satellite antennas, and other common amenities — particularly if the subdivision is governed by a homeowner’s association.

Questions? Give me a call at: 480.382-8711! Glad to help.

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