SHOPPING FOR A HOME
Buying a home is a process that many of us will go through in our lifetime. If we are like many other prospective buyers, we will experience this major decision three or four times in our working years. A home is often the largest purchase we will make, and it therefore deserves our careful attention.
“Many people think that the most important criterion in shopping for a home is its site.”1 The site should be on land that is well drained and free from flooding. Check the local city zoning plan to determine if you have selected a site that is free from flooding and high water levels. You should also check to see if the ground is stable. Ground that shifts considerably can cause severe cracks in foundations and walls.
Cruise suggests that a house survey be conducted in the early stages of your search:
Key problems are encroachments such as buildings, trees, or additions to the house that overlap the property line or may violate zoning regulations. The solution can be as simple as moving or removing trees or bushes.2
A home purchase is a major undertaking with a long list of items that must be investigated. To ensure that the building is structurally sound, many prospective buyers use the services of a building inspector. The walls, ceiling, and floors (if you have a basement) need proper insulation. “Both the depth and ‘R’ factor need to be checked for appropriate levels.”3 In addition, cross braces should have been used between the beams supporting a floor.
The roof should be checked to see if any shingles are missing. Finally, a thorough check should be made of the heating, cooling, and electrical systems in the home. "These features are as critical as any others to be examined."4
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