Seven Things Every Home Buyer Should Check For Themselves
Where Does The Info On That House Come From?
Home buyers looking online on either big real estate portals like Realtor.com, Zillow or local real estate agents websites are able to see lots of information about the homes that suite their needs. The price, neighborhood, number of bedrooms are all included in the description of the home. The other details about the home such as school district, city limits and utilities can be part of the descriptors as well.
So where does all this information come from? There is a lot going on when you are buying a house and your buyers agent should handle a lot of it, but home buyers need to take responsibility for anything that is very important to them. The 7 things every home buyer should check for themselves is a jumping off point, if it's important to you, find out. In the case of homes for sale in Clayton, NC that are entered in the Triangle MLS that information is entered by the listing agent. The price, subdivision, number of bedrooms are hard to get wrong ( not impossible though) the schools, city limits, utilities can sometimes be a gray area and as such should always be checked by the home buyer with the help of their buyers agent to confirm they are correct.
We are all human and prone to making mistakes and it's very easy to make a mistake when entering information about a home which is why it is so important for home buyers to check the information that is important to them and not rely on what they see. There are some systems to check some of the information but not all and what may be the overriding factor in choosing a home for some buyers is definitely worth checking. How does a home buyer check the information on Zillow or a sales flyer? This is where your buyers agent should be able to help and some of the information is fairly easy to find once you know what you are looking for. Much of it is available online and if not there should be a person at the city or county, school or utility company that can help. Simply asking the neighbors to confirm something is the easiest way to find out...but confirm if it's important to you.
As a Clayton, NC real estate agent you get to know what subdivisions are in each school district and having two children in local schools I certainly know those schools, and the subdivisions that go there. Having said that things change and we are experiencing tremendous growth in the area and the schools are having to adapt, so I still check. There are a couple of ways to check, you can get a boundary map from the Johnston County Schools website or you can use the Johnston County GIS map to search by address. It is advised that you also call the JCS Transportation Services for homes that might be right on the border between schools. Recently there was a case where the listing agent had the wrong high school listed for the property and the buyers agent did not catch it and those people had to sell the house they just bought.
How much are the property taxes going to be on your new house? While our taxes are fairly low here in Johnston County compared with other parts of the country, it's good to know what the rate is and who you're paying taxes to. The tax rates for the different municipalities can be found on the tax office website and vary accordingly. It's a good idea to find out from the municipality what you get for your taxes which in larger towns can be quite a lot.
3. City Limits
There is a big difference between a mailing address and actually being inside the city limits. With regards to Clayton, NC which is the largest town in Johnston County and growing because it has such a large mailing address there are many homes that have a Clayton mailing address but are not in the city limits. In fact many homes have a Clayton mailing address but are actually in a different towns limit, Archer Lodge and Wilson Mills are a couple of examples. It is very important to know what municipality your new home will be in for a number of reasons. The taxes we discussed above are different but also the code enforcement and city ordinances are different and may exclude something you plan to do with your property. If the house you are buying is in the Clayton ETJ then that is what governs where you go for permits for any additions, pools or fences. Clayton has two zip codes 27520 and 27527
Where do we get the power? City or county, well and septic, electricity, natural gas, cable TV , fiber optic high speed Internet. Most larger subdivisions or planned developments are easy to figure out where you get your utilities from. Some even provide a list of who you should call to get set up. When you start looking at smaller neighborhoods and individual lots or older homes then it's important to know who provides what. The fact that there is a well in the front yard does not necessarily mean the house hasn't been hooked up to county water, so if you'd rather not get a water bill every month, it's worth it to make sure. A home inspector will be able to confirm the water source and you can also call the county. Natural gas is very popular with some home buyers for both cooking and the energy efficiency it provides and not all neighborhoods have it. A gas log fireplace is often fueled by a propane tank which you'll need to find out if the home owners lease or own it.
5. Restrictive Covenants
Its very important for every home buyer to get a copy of the restrictive covenants and read through them to make sure what is allowed and what is not. Every subdivision while not required to have a HOA will have some form of restrictive covenants and you'll want to see the latest one. Older subdivisions around Clayton can have a few pages covering the basics while the trend in newer subdivisions is to have very detailed covenants that may impact your decision to buy a home there. A fairly common question I get asked is what subdivisions in Clayton allow chickens in the backyard, many do not. Number of pets and type of dog can also be listed in the covenants. Commercial vehicles is another, if you drive a truck for work you may have to park it in the garage, pretty important if it won't fit! Keeping boats or RV's is sometimes frowned upon in the restrictive covenants of some neighborhoods while perfectly acceptable in others.
6. HOA Rules/Assesments
Rules & Regulations[/caption] Now this is one every new home buyer needs to read if only to discover what the neighborhood is going to be like. Some HOA rules can seem restrictive to some people while others like the conformity and rules that apply in certain neighborhoods. There will likely be a HOA company that collects the dues and makes sure everyone is complying with the rules. Monthly HOA dues can vary depending on what sort of amenities are available and the size of the neighborhood. Some neighborhoods have two fees, one that covers for example the entrance sign and another that covers the pool. So be sure and find out what is included with the HOA dues and what the rules and regulations are.
7. Lot Lines
Paying for a survey is often the last thing a new home owner wants to pony up for and I understand. After all it rarely become an issue...until it becomes an issue! If you drive around a new neighborhood you might see wooden stakes with pink ribbons and writing like Lot 42 on one side and Lot 43 on the other. This means that Lot 42 should be in between the wooden stakes that have 42 on them. This can often give you a feel for the width or depth of the lot, as long as nobody has moved the stakes which happens a lot. The corners of the lot should have a metal stake buried in the ground and this is a more accurate indication of the lot lines but even then the only way to be absolutely sure is to hire a surveyor to survey the lot for you. With an older home the wooden stakes are long gone and so it's often a fence line or a row of trees or shrubs that the homeowner or the neighbors installed and who's to say they didn't move the line over a bit. A survey will also revel any easements that may not be obvious. To recap, the 7 things every home buyer should check for themselves We are all human and prone to making mistakes and it's very easy to make a mistake when entering information about a home which is why it is so important for home buyers to check the information that is important to them and not rely on what they see. There are some systems to check some of the information but not all and what may be the overriding factor in choosing a home for some buyers is definitely worth checking. How does a home buyer check the information on Zillow or a sales flyer? This is where your buyers agent should be able to help and some of the information is fairly easy to find once you know what you are looking for. Much of it is available online and if not there should be a person at the city or county, school or utility company that can help. Simply asking the neighbors to confirm something is the easiest way to find out...but confirm if it's important to you. For more informative articles about the home buying process and what to look for, check out these articles from industry experts...