Top 7 Questions to Ask About Your Next Home
By Joshua Ferris
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When you buy a home, especially your first home, a lot of thoughts will run through your mind. Is it close to work? Do I love that kitchen? Are there any prisons or hidden toxic waste dumps nearby? A lot of times these concerns are shrugged off as overthinking but they will significantly impact the resale value of your home. Here are seven things to look for in your next home:
- How far is it from mass transit?
With the teeter totter gas prices we've seen over the past few years it's easy to forget that gas prices were once five dollars a gallon in some parts of the U.S. Since home buyers typically look for their new home in the Spring/Summer months you are most likely to sell your home during the peak gas price months of the year. Being close to mass transit to major cities will ensure strong resale in the future.
- Where is the closest grocery store?
You need food to survive and the idea of driving 20 minutes each way to the nearest grocery store isn't going to give your home much resale appeal in the future. Find the nearest grocery stores using online mapping services like Google Maps. I always recommend clients map the distance between each home's address and major commercial shopping centers.
- How old are the home's crucial features?
Crucial features are things like your water heater, furnace, roof and foundation. Sometimes a home flipping company will renovate the most viewed parts of an older home like interior floors, siding and walls but not take care of the home's utility machines. Know the age of everything in the home to save yourself from heartache later.
- Is there room to grow?
Single family homes offer the most flexibility in terms of expanding but there may be local ordinances or zoning laws in place that prevent you from adding another floor or expanding within a certain amount of feet of the property line. If you think your home will need to expand in the future then verify the local zoning/ordinances before making a purchase.
- What's the shape of the lot?
Homes come in many different shapes and sizes but often overlooked are the shapes of the home's lot. You can have a flag lot (shaped like a pole with a rectangle at the top), corner lot or regular square lot. Be sure to understand how the lot is shaped so you know what you can do with your land in the future.
- Are there any easements or shared land to be aware of?
People can get pretty creative over the years of owning land and may have easements on their land to allow utility companies or neighbors to use part of their land for special reasons. Although easements are usually never too big of a deal a shared piece of land or common entrance can be cause for rift in the future. If you have a shared driveway, for example, make sure a maintenance agreement is in place before purchasing the home.
- What kind of ownership do you have in the land?
There are a variety of different land ownership types including 100 year leases where the builder or homeowner leased the land from a third party for an extended period of time and condominium ownership where you own the home but not a controlling stake in the land its built on.
Using the list above you will have an excellent, though not totally complete, guide to begin your home search and find a home that you can enjoy for many years.
Joshua Ferris is an associate real estate broker in New York who assists buyers and sellers looking for Hudson Valley real estate. Learn more about Monroe New York real estate and Newburgh NY Homes For Sale by visiting HouseMeetsOwner.com.
Article Submitted On: May 14, 2009