Considering purchasing a home in San Ramon or around the Tri-Valley area? Are you a senior citizen looking to buy, rent or potentially lease a new property? Here are some of the top home buying mistakes that seniors can make when considering purchasing a new property, home or condominium. [Read more…]
The seller’s disclosure report or form will be filled out by the homeowner/a seller before listing the property explaining in detail any known issues, remodels, renovations or problems that the house currently has or has had in the past and has been fixed. Anything that the seller knows about a property must be disclosed on this form. Seller’s disclosure forms vary from state to state will have some of the basics that buyers will need to know or understand before purchasing the property.
Here are some of the basics of most sellers disclosure forms or reports have that buyers need to understand.
The age of the roof.
This is more than simply knowing that the roof is 10 years old; it’s knowing what type of roof it is that you know the lifespan of that material. If you are only 10 years into a 40 your roof, you know that the roof will have some life left to it for quite some time. If you are unsure about the life of a particular roof material ask your real estate agent or home inspector. They can give you tips and advice as to how long a particular roof will last.
Sellers should be able to explain any and all plumbing issues that they know what. You want to know the age and type of the pipes, whether it’s copper, galvanized steel or brass. Some of these can last up to 100 years but polybutylene or lead pipes could mean trouble. Some of these materials may need to be replaced before you move in.
Heat pumps, furnaces and water heaters.
Most gas water heaters usually last about 10 years and electric ones about 15. Most water heaters don’t need to be replaced until the leak or fail. HVAC systems or heat pumps work harder the older they get so a 20-year-old HVAC system will be working about 50% harder and less efficient than a new system. While this may not be something to replace, it is something to be aware of for your future in the home.
Renovations and remodels.
If the seller had conducted any remodels or major renovations they should be able to produce a building permit. If no permit was done on a major remodeling issues that require a permit for your city or state, you could be liable for mistakes in the future. Anything that was done that should have had a building permit needs to be signed off on before you agree to purchase the property. This is for your safety and liability.
Read more: Should you buy a Flipped property?
Cracks in the wall and foundation.
Cracks can be structural damage but they also could simply be a settling. Newer homes are notorious for getting cracks in the ceiling, walls and corners simply because they have settled now that people have moved into the home or the foundation and ground around the home has settled. While this may not be cause for concern it is something to ask your home inspector about. Read more: Do New Homes Need Inspections?
Sellers should be able to tell you if there’s been any major animal damage while the home was under their ownership. This could mean past issues, where they have hired an exterminator, major damage, rats, mice, snakes or other issues that may have caused damage to the house under the seller’s ownership. Make sure all of these items have been addressed and taken care of before you take ownership.
Asbestos and lead paint.
Sellers need to answer honestly of they know that the home has asbestos or lead paint. But, most homeowners have not owned the home for the last 40 years total so whether or not the property has lead paint in it or not, the seller is not going to know. The seller may know if there is asbestos but anything that they do know, they have to disclose.
Understanding the seller’s disclosure form doesn’t have to be difficult but if there is anything you don’t understand don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent or the listing agent. They can identify and explain any detail and unfortunately if the seller simply does not know about an item dues to issues happening before they owned or if it is an investment rental property, there’s not much the buyer can do about it.
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Buying a home is a big step and an exciting one too so you want to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes during the home buying process. Now, this is not to say that is very easy to make these mistakes but sometimes, unknowingly, homebuyers can make a lot of mistakes during the mortgage process of the just don’t realize can harm their chances of actually getting a loan. When buying a home in the Tri-Valley area I urge all of my buyers to get pre-approved first. This is usually the first mistake many buyers make.
Not getting Pre-Approved.
This is where you actually sit down with a lender and figure out how much money you can spend on a house. The lender will determine how much income you’re receiving each month and how much is going out in debts, loans and basic utilities. From there, the lender will determine how much in a monthly mortgage payment you can handle which will relate to the total cost of a home. This also is a way to determine what your interest rate will be based on your credit history, report and score. Many homebuyers feel that they can simply enter some information on a mortgage calculator to determine their price range but unfortunately, if they’ve not gone through lender, their financing is not secured. Sellers look for secure financing and low risk offers. By being prepared with a preapproval letter ahead of time, you can ensure the seller that you’ve already done your financial homework.
Changing your identity.
This might sound like a crazy task but you might be surprised as to how often this happens. For instance: if a couple is planning on getting married and they’re buying a house at the same time, between the time the couple was approved for a loan versus when it closes, the wife’s last name could’ve changed. This is changing your identity and it could really negatively affect your chances of getting a home loan. Yes, you are the same person but don’t make any of these major identity or name changes until the property closes.
Making large purchases before closing.
Once the lender has determined how much you can afford you don’t want to change that in any way. This means it is not the time to finance a vehicle, spend large amounts on new furniture or other major appliances or take out loans of any kind. Consider freezing all of your assets, liabilities, loans and big spending until the closing is completed.
Not answering questions to your escrow or lender in a timely manner.
Everyone is working towards the closing date. There are numerous parties involved in the buying and selling of real estate and anything can hold up that process. Make sure you respond to phone calls and requests in a timely manner and don’t get frustrated if escrow or title officers ask for more identification or specific documents. They need to make sure that you are the correct person buying the home and that your identity is protected. Also consider all costs involved and ask about the costs including taxes, HOA dues, insurance and appraisals.
By keeping all of these things in mind you can ensure that your deal will close on time without a lot of hiccups. Of course, every single transaction is different so even if you’ve done everything possible those rare instances can happen or things simply fall through. By avoiding all of these mistakes you have a better chance at setting yourself up for successful homebuying purchase.