4 Critical Things to Check Before Buying a Home in Orlando
4 Critical Things to Check Before Buying a Home in Florida
It’s an exciting time to buy a home in Orlando!
The Florida housing market is booming, there’s so much to choose from, and this is a great place to live. Whether this is your first house or you’re an experienced buyer, you don’t want to rush too quickly into the homebuying process.
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If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in an unsavory investment or dealing with expensive repairs. Buying a house will pay off in the long run, but there’s a lot of work you have to put in before you can get the keys to your new property. Before you jump the gun on your next home, pay attention to these 4 critical things. Checking them before you buy a home will go a long way in helping you avoid unexpected surprises.
1. Recognize Signs of Needed Repairs
House repairs are one of the most expensive parts of owning a home. These are often called hidden costs since they’re not expected monthly expenses, but they can be a real burden on your budget. Most experts recommend setting aside up to two percent of your purchase price for your home maintenance and repairs. This way, the money is ready and waiting in case you need it.
However, if you accidentally purchase a home that needs extensive repairs, this could be a big blow. Not only will you have already paid extensive closing costs, down payments, and more, but you’ll also have to deal with the trouble of actually making the repair yourself. Whether you DIY your repairs or hire a pro, this is the last thing you want to deal with in your new property.
There are a few areas, in particular, you should look at when scoping out any necessary repairs:
- Roof Problems - Brittle or curled shingles, missing flashings, water stains, leaks, or more are all a red flag.
- Foundation - Are there flaws in the foundation like cracks, sloping floors, or sticking doors?
- Faulty Plumbing - How is the water pressure, do the drains work, and are there any signs of leaks on the ceiling?
- Heating and Cooling - Check the heat exchanger, water tank, and A/C/ motor.
- Faulty Gutters - Are there clogged or bent gutters or is the water draining near the home?
If you notice any of these problems, bring them up with your real estate agent. Most of the times these will be caught during the home inspection, but it always pays to keep a close eye on the upkeep of a home.
2. Check the Neighborhood
How much do you know about the local neighborhood? Every place you visit will likely have different pros and cons, and you shouldn’t expect any one place to be 100% perfect. However, a safe neighborhood is a must.
Sometimes you can’t tell just how safe a place is upon first glance. Looking at a local crime mapping service is a much more accurate way to learn if a neighborhood is prone to crime. Especially pay attention to violent crimes and property crimes that might do more damage to your property.
Tour the neighborhood and take a good look at the surrounding homes. A sign of a safe neighborhood is that the homes are well maintained, there are no broken windows or overgrown yards, and things are generally well taken care of. Finally, visit the neighborhood again at night to see if anything changes after dark. For more security, consider using Alarm Grid to keep your home safe.
3. Check the Land
The home might be perfect, but it’s still worth looking at the land before making a purchase. Especially in Florida, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the land if you aren’t careful. First, you have a lot of environmental concerns. For instance, if the property is near a lake or canal, you might face flooding, tropical wildlife, or stray reptiles.
Other than the environmental concerns, think about your surroundings. Is there a fence? Do you share any property with neighboring homes? What about parking and the driveway? If you’re confused about what is and isn’t included, talk to your real estate agent or visit your county records office.
4. Have the Home Inspected
Last but not least, don’t trust yourself to notice everything. No matter how proactive you are, things can still slip through the cracks. You’re not a professional home inspector. You’re not going to perfectly notice everything, and that’s completely okay.
Instead, enlist a professional. They’ll know just what to look for, and they can give a complete report on the state of the home. They can even check for things like lead paint and common pests. It will be impossible to find a home that doesn’t have some kind of defect, especially if it’s an older home. Knowing what you’re getting into, however, is key.
Make sure you know your "deal-breakers". What can you fix on your own? What are you not willing to do? Keep these thoughts at the forefront of your home search. The more educated and informed you are about homes in your area, the better equipped you’ll be to make a smart, informed decision. Your deal-breakers might change as you visit and view more homes, and that’s normal too. Try to consider each home in its entirety, including the land, the neighborhood, and all the potential repairs.
Choosing the Perfect Home
There might not be any such thing as a 100% perfect home. That being said, your home search can be successful if you know what you’re looking for as well as what to expect. No home is perfect, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be the perfect home for you and your family.
Whether this is your first time buying or your third, make sure to update yourself on the most important things to check. While you should always use a professional inspector as well as information and suggestions from your real estate agent, it pays to be proactive. Now you’re ready to go out into your local housing market and find that dream home.