Buyers

Buying a Home
Buying a home can be one of your most significant investments in life. Not only are you choosing your dwelling place, you are most likely investing a large portion of your assets. Obtaining the proper inspections for a home prior to purchase is one of the best ways to make a smart purchase decision and protect your investment. The more prepared you are at the outset, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. The more information you get, the easier it is make an intelligent and confident decision.

Home Inspections
Inspections are designed to help you understand the overall condition of a property, potentially saving you considerable time with the purchase process and potentially thousands of dollars in repairs. Some of the inspections which may be required or recommended by your real estate professional are:

Standard Home Inspection - The areas which may be covered include lot and grounds, roofs, exterior surfaces, garage, structure, attic, basement, crawl space, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, fireplaces, and appliance condition. Remember that your inspection rights are clearly stated in the Purchase Agreement.

Radon Inspection - Radon levels are detected and measured. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 15,000 - 22,000 deaths per year result from radon exposure, therefore they recommend that all homes be tested for radon. EPA recommends that homes containing 4.0 or more Pico Curies per liter be remedied.

Asbestos Inspection - Lab analysis will determine if asbestos fibers are present and evaluate their condition. If friable or non-friable conditions exist, buyers should seek professional assistance.

Composition Board Siding - The condition of the siding and any areas of high moisture are evaluated during this inspection. Typically, composition board siding is a paper-based product that is manufactured to replicate traditional wood siding at a fraction of the cost.

Lead Paint Inspection - Painted surfaces of a home can be evaluated to determine the presence of lead paint. Homes that were constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead exposure can be harmful to young children and babies. Children with lead in their bodies can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.

Pool/Hot Tub Inspection - Determines the overall condition and operability of a pool and/or hot tub's equipment. Additionally, the condition of the pool deck will be inspected for deterioration and/or other noticeable defects.

Stucco Siding Inspection - There are two types of stucco siding to be aware of: cement-based "traditional" stucco and synthetic stucco. An inspection of the siding's application according to manufacturer's installation specifications is recommended. Synthetic stucco siding is commonly referred to as Exterior Insulated Finish System (EIFS).

  • In considering a home with stucco exterior, we recommend an inspection be conducted to determine the condition of the siding.
  • Synthetic stucco is predominately found in the Southeast but it is present in homes in other areas of the country as well.
  • Hidden structural damage has been documented in synthetic stucco homes in 34 states.
  • Moisture readings are taken to determine if the system has already experienced water intrusion.

 

Interest Rates
As you start shopping for a home loan, your first question of each lender will probably be "What's your interest rate? How much are you charging?"

Interest rates are usually expressed as an annual percentage of the amount borrowed. If you borrowed $100,000 at 5% interest, you'd owe interest of $5,000 for the first year. With most mortgage plans you'd pay it at the rate of $416 a month. You would also send in something each month to reduce the principal debt you owe - and the next month you'd owe a bit less interest.

When your grandparents bought their home (putting at least half the purchase price down, by the way), their interest rate was probably around 4 or 5%. Rates stayed the same for years at a time. Then things became more turbulent, and as economic changes speeded up, rates changed much more often. When inflation hit a high in the '80s, some mortgage loans carried interest rates as high as 17% - and those who absolutely needed to buy paid that much.

Rates dropped gradually through the 1990s, and by 2000 had reached their lowest rates in decades. Now home buyers appear to have the most favorable conditions for mortgage borrowing since their grandparents' days - and without 50% down payments either.