Tips for Buyers
Getting Ready to Buy:
- Order and review your credit report. A credit report may be ordered free online at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Correct any errors found on your credit report
- Reduce your debt and don't acquire any new debt
- See a lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This saves time by letting buyers know what they can afford. It also may allow any offer to be considered more favorably as it indicates a commitment by the buyer to complete the process and purchase a home.
- Save money!
- Get an Inspection from a qualified ASHI or CABO certified inspector.
- If major problems arise a secondary inspection by a structural engineer may be in order.
- The 2007 Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) Purchase and Sales Agreement puts the responsibility of getting a termite inspection / letter on the buyer. This is probably better then the previous scenario where it was up to the seller to provide the termite inspection / letter. The reasoning is that an inspector is probably more likely to actually identify any problems when working for the buyer. When working for the seller the opposite is likely true. Any problems identified in the termite inspection are almost certainly going to cost the seller to correct.
- While most lenders don't require a survey, we recommend that you get one anyway. It's better to find out that there is an encroachment or easement on the property before you buy!
- Fee Simple: Most single-family detached homes are fee simple. You own all of the property outright: the house, the land it's built on, and the yard (if there is one). You are responsible for all maintenance, insurance, landscaping and repairs.
- Condominium: You own your unit (townhouse, apartment, detached house) and have certain rights to the common areas, such as, parking, walkways, swimming pool and recreation areas. You maintain the interior of your unit and an association maintains the exterior with funds received from fees levied from owners.
- Planned Unit Development: Your home is one of many in a defined community, which may include detached homes, townhouses, gardens apartments, or high-rise condominiums. Owners have certain rights to the common areas, such as, parking, walkways, swimming pool and recreation areas. You maintain the interior of your unit and an association maintains the exterior with funds received from fees levied from owners.
- Co-op: You own a share in a corporation that owns real estate and you have exclusive rights to a specific unit. Like a condominium and planned unit development, the co-op association charges a fee for maintenance and other expenses.
- The HUD-1 or Settlement statement is a form that may be provided to consumers prior to closing. This form indicates the costs and fees associated with a real estate transaction. Federal law requires that the closing agent must provide a borrower the HUD-1 figures one business day in advance "only if the borrower requests such a review". The closing agent is only required to provide whatever figures have actually been received up until that time from other parties involved in the transaction. Keep in mind that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may have little or no authority to enforce this requirement.
- Borrowers should always request and review the HUD-1 before the closing. See the HUD-1 example so you'll be better able to understand your own HUD-1 when you receive it.
- Synthetic Stucco was installed in the 1980's through the 1990's. Moisture can get trapped behind the stucco and, in some cases, the underlying wood has rotted. This product has been involved in a class- action law suit. Get a Stucco Inspection!
For more information: http://www.usinspect.com/car/0503Stucco2.asp
- Polybutylene Plumbing was installed in the 1970's through the 1990's and has a history of failures. The resulting water damage is often significant. This product has been involved in a class- action law suit.
For more information: http://www.usinspect.com/car/1203PlumbingPB.asp
- Pressed or Composition Board Siding was installed on the exterior of many homes in the 1980's and 1990's. Some of these products have had a problem with wicking moisture and swelling. This is usually due to improper installation or the lack of proper maintenance. Some of these products were involved in a class- action law suit.
For more information: http://www.usinspect.com/Content/CompBoardSiding.asp and http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html
- Mold has been identified as a problem in homes. A test has been developed to identify if mold found in a home may be a health hazard.
For more information: http://www.usinspect.com/car/1004moldandcrawl.asp
- Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is created from the decomposition of granite. It has been found to be a health hazard. A Radon test will detect the presence of radon in the home. Ventilation and other procedures are used to mitigate the problem.
For more information: http://www.epa.gov/radon/