Thirty years ago when I began selling real estate, the saying at the time was “Buyer Beware.” There were not many systems in place to protect the buyer in the purchase of a home. Well, since then, there have been great strides made to insure that the buyer and seller are both equally protected in the home buying process. The following are things you can do to protect your interest in the home buying process:
1. Insist on receiving a BUYER ADVISORY. This is a resource provided by the Arizona Association of Realtors for potential home buyers. It helps buyers understand the paperwork involved, gives a list of documents you should review, provides a list of inspections that should be performed, and gives many links to websites that are helpful to obtaining all the information a buyer needs to make an informed buying decision. For example: government websites, pool safety, environmental hazards, crime statistics, sex offenders, school information, and much more.
2. Make sure your sale is being handled by a TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY. Their responsibility is to insure that you receive clear title to the property you are purchasing, disclose any items that are recorded against the property, handle all of the monies, and provide the buyer with Title Insurance at the closing to protect against any future claims from anyone claiming they had an interest in the property or were owed money.
3. Hire a HOME INSPECTOR. One of your greatest defenses against purchasing a home with any undisclosed issues is to hire a professional home inspector to go through the home and provide you with a report of the home’s current condition. For a few hundred dollars, you can save yourself potentially thousands in unforeseen repair costs down the road.
4. Have a TERMITE INSPECTION done. There is a saying in Arizona that “It’s not a matter of if your home will have termites, it’s a matter of when.” Termite inspectors typically charge $75 or less to conduct an inspection of the home to determine if there are any visible signs of termite infestation. If signs are found, they will recommend that the home be treated to eradicate them and insure there is no further damage. Termites are common to our area and not a reason for fear. Properly treated, the home can be protected and if caught early, the damage is normally minimal.
5. Get an INSURANCE CLAIMS HISTORY REPORT. Your insurance provider should be able to provide you with a 5 year claims history report for the property you are purchasing. If not, ask the seller to have their insurance company provide it for you. This will tell you whether there have been any insurance claims on the property in the last 5 years. If there have been, this might be a red flag that you need to dig a little deeper.
While this is not an exhaustive list of items that can be done prior to the purchase of a home, these are the major ones. By following each of these steps, you will be able to make an informed decision on the purchase of your next home before you sign on the line.
Posted on April 4, 2013 at 9:23 am by Weichert Realtors -