In legal terms, due diligence refers to a period outlined in a home purchase agreement during which potential buyers have time to learn everything about a house… and to back out.
But due diligence should begin at the very beginning of the process, before any offer is made: Here are some tips:
If you are serious about buying, contact your local Bay Equity Home Loans as early as possible about a pre-approval letter. Even before you call real estate agent, this valuable document establishes your buyer credibility and helps you establish a budget.
First-time buyers list unexpected costs as their biggest regret. The most common underestimated costs are closing fees, home maintenance and unscheduled repairs. Online calculators are a valuable tool, but a Bay Equity professional will help set realistic expectations.
More than half of new homes and a growing percentage of existing homes are in homeowner associations (HOAs). Before making an offer on an HOA home, read through the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), as well as the bylaws and budget. Look for anything that might affect the future.
Talk to neighbors and get opinions on HOA operations. There may be insight into the health of organization finances and imminent increases in dues. Down the road, it will help avoid unpleasant surprises.
Before committing to an offer, find out if there are any construction projects, development plans or imminent changes in property zoning in nearby areas.
Even if you do not have kids, it pays to check out a neighborhood’s school district before buying a home, as living in an area with a sought-after school system raises your property value.
If you are planning to make changes to your property after your purchase, it is a good idea to know your property lines. You cannot always rely on the seller’s knowledge of the property, so getting a land survey will clear up any uncertainties.
Do not hesitate to follow up on issues that arise during a routine home inspection, even if it means paying a little bit more money. Get estimates from contractors to find out what repair costs might be during the due diligence period.
If you discover a flaw during home inspection, do not be shy. Ask sellers to repair or replace items or ask for other concessions. At the very least, a flaw should be used to obtain a possible price reduction during negotiations.
Do not be afraid to talk to future potential neighbors. They typically have the inside scoop on what is going on and often provide candid commentary that may make or break the decision to buy a particular home.