Property laws vary from state to state but there are general guidelines real estate buyers would do well to know before investing in property. It isn’t simply a matter of having enough money to purchase real estate: you want to make sure it doesn’t turn out to cost more in the long run.
The value of property appreciates if it’s structurally sound, has essential amenities such as electricity, plumbing and water supply and is located in a neighborhood with easy access to hospitals, schools, colleges, transportation hubs, offices etc. Location is so important that it’s often the single factor that influences resale value.
Can you build a house on land?
You may have found a nice plot of land to build a house on. But can you? Some states have zoning restrictions on building houses and finding out what the laws are will eliminate expensive problems.
Know that buying land and building a house will cost a small fortune. Construction isn’t cheap especially when building for a family. The cost of materials is high and you’ll have to find a trusted contractor to advise you along the way.
Visit a house/land several times a day
When house-hunting, it’s wise to visit properties several times in the day. Evening and night visits mask problems with the house, noise levels of the neighborhood and intensity of traffic. Some buyers may be looking for a quiet street but won’t be able to tell the difference at night.
If land is being purchased, find out how close it is to amenities and whether there are any upcoming plans for commercial real estate construction. Some buyers inadvertently find themselves stuck in the middle of a commercial hub they didn’t anticipate would be built. Noise, traffic and crowds can mar the peacefulness of any location.
Do a house inspection
This is a vital part of the house-hunting process and the services of an inspector are required. Obvious problems like chipped or broken stairs, faulty doors and windows and peeling paint are cheaper to repair than those you can’t see. Inspectors may use tools like thermal imaging and draw on their expertise to pinpoint problems with insulation, plumbing and unsound foundations. The cost of an inspection isn’t very cheap but is a lot less expensive than being saddled with big repair works later on.
Some areas reappraise housing tax so it’s important to find out what the recent taxes are on a house. If you purchase property at a good deal only to be bogged down by rising taxes every year, you’ll take longer to pay the mortgage and the cost of maintenance will rise.
Check past renovations
The seller you approach may have made renovations to the house in the past. If this is the case, find out what it cost and what improvements were made. The cost will tell you if quality materials were used. Find out the date of the renovations as well to give an idea of whether you’ll need to make further improvements in the near future.
Don’t buy for short-term stay
Buying a house cost much more than renting one, at least for short stays. Don’t make the mistake of purchasing property if you don’t intend to live in it for at least several years. Paying off a mortgage takes time and a year or two isn’t enough for most people.
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