After years of sluggish sales and stagnant prices, things are finally looking up for the U.S. housing market. Price inflation jumped by 4.7 percent in 2014 and is expected to rise to around 6.5 percent in 2015. Housing starts and sales of existing homes are also increasing at a healthy clip. With that in mind, here are five steps shoppers should take before buying homes for sale.
1. Learn About The Neighborhood
If you are genuinely interested in a property, it behooves you to find out more about it online. In addition to demographics and population statistics, you will want to know about local developments and events. You might also visit a few community sites and blogs to get a better idea of how locals feel about their city or town.
2. Examine The Crime Rate
Even if you’re moving to a relatively safe suburb, it’s always a good idea to look into local crimes. Perhaps the town has a problem with illegal drugs or acts of vandalism that are unreported in the local news. Crimes statistics can give you a much clearer picture of how the town deals with illegal activity.
3. Check The School District
Even if you don’t have kids, homes for sale in bad school districts are generally harder to move. As a result, they often have lower resale values than abodes with access to better schools. To protect your investment, make sure you look into local academics.
4. Visit At Different Times Of Day
As you might imagine, most homeowners and their real estate agents try to put their best foot forward. As such, they often prefer to show properties during the day, when things are quiet in the neighborhood. But what happens at night? Are the streets as silent as they are during working hours? To answer these important questions, make sure you visit on a weeknight. You might just find that a seemingly quiet town becomes a beehive of activity when the sun goes down.
5. Get A Home Inspection
If you’re thinking about buying an existing abode, chances are it has issues. From a leaky roof to a crack in the foundation to mold in the cellar, problems should be identified before you make an offer on homes for sale. An experienced home inspector is an invaluable resource for both buyers and sellers. He or she will make a detailed list of all existing and potential problems. And if repairs are needed, the inspector can even make a rough estimate of what they might cost. The two parties can then negotiate a fair price based on this new information. As the buyer, you should always insist on a third-party inspector who can dispassionately examine the property for possible problems.