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Tips on Buying a Home

    It's hard to remember all the details when you visit a lot of properties. Here's a handy home inspection checklist, which may assist you. Note: This list is not a substitute for an inspection conducted by a licensed home inspection professional, but it can be used to bring areas of concern to his or her attention.

    Click here to view and print the Homesite Home Inspection Checklist

  • When choosing a real estate agent, ask a prospective broker the following questions:
    • How long have you been licensed?
    • How long have you actively worked in the area?
    • How many home sales have you closed in the last three months?
    • Will you act as a seller's or buyer's agent?
    • Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors?
    • Have you earned any specialty professional real estate designations?
  • As you begin your search for the perfect home, keep in mind these tips for getting started.
    • Pre-qualify with a bank or mortgage lender to find out how much of a house you can afford.
    • Develop a checklist of characteristics you want in a home.
    • Determine what type of neighborhood you want to live in.
    • Determine what facilities and amenities you want in your community or nearby.
    • Let your broker know your likes and dislikes and prioritize them for yourself and your broker.
    • Eliminate houses as you search, keeping no more than three to five possibilities at one time.
    • Be prepared to make an offer and leave a deposit when you find the house you want.
  • When you find the home you are interested in, keep in mind these questions to ask your agent or broker. Your agent's ability to answer these questions may depend on their relationship with you (ie: are they acting as a buyer's agent, seller's agent, or dual agency).
    • How long has this home been on the market?
    • Is this the first time the home has been listed by this seller?
    • Does the home and property have any easements attached? (public or private)
    • What items in the home are included or excluded from the sale? (washer/dryer, refrigerator, window treatments, lighting fixtures, etc.)
    • Have there been any price reduction on the home during its listing period?
    • What is the price range of other homes that have sold in the neighborhood
    • What are the demographics of the neighborhood?
    • What is the average time homes have been on the market in this neighborhood or area?
  • If you are considering the purchase of a condominium, you should be aware of some special considerations. In recent years, condominiums have become an excellent alternative for many homeowners. They are generally less expensive than conventional single family houses, yet they offer all the features and benefits of home ownership. The term "condominium" describes a type of joint ownership. Each unit is individually owned while the facilities and common space are owned collectively by all the unit owners and/or association. The condominium unit owners usually pay a monthly maintenance fee, which covers the management of the complex and upkeep of the common property areas. Selecting a condominium is more complex than buying a single-family house because it also involves joining an association consisting of other owners and managers. As a result, you and your mortgage lender will need to investigate not only the specific unit in which you are interested, but also the entire complex from a physical and financial standpoint.

    If you own a condominium, your condo association probably has a Master Policy that insures all of the property and common areas that are collectively owned by the unit owners. These policies usually cover the actual structure of your home and therefore you do not need to purchase this coverage separately. However, the association's policy does not cover your personal property or your legal responsibility, and may not cover improvements or custom work in your unit.

 

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*21st Century is not affiliated with Homesite Insurance. The 21st Century Homeowners Insurance Program is underwritten by member companies of the Homesite Insurance group, a leading provider of homeowners, renters and condominium insurance. Member companies include: Homesite Insurance Company, Homesite Indemnity Company, Homesite Insurance Company of California, Homesite Insurance Company of Florida, Homesite Insurance Company of Illinois, Homesite Insurance Company of the Midwest, Homesite Insurance Company of New York, Homesite Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, and Homesite Lloyd's of Texas.
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