So you’re thinking about buying a home. Isn’t it so exciting? The thought of laying down your roots, painting & decorating your home to your heart’s content & oh man don’t forget about that tax write off. Jumping for joy!
But when you come down from cloud nine, reality strikes. There’s a lot that goes into buying a home. All the research, countless hours of trying to find the right one, & finally it happens…you get your offer accepted! Hallelujah!
Now comes the reality part of the process. Due diligence. What exactly does that mean? Due diligence is exactly that…do your due. Whatever you want to know about this home from your home inspection (the guts of the home) to a title report (the land ownership rights of the home) to the natural hazard disclosure (the surroundings of the home), All of these things are equally important to determining whether or not you’ll be calling this “Home” in the next month.
But here’s the kicker: Even after you’ve done your due diligence, shit happens. Homeownership means taking responsibility. Before you take plunge, understand that owning a home requires time, money & effort. There are things you won’t discover about this home until after you live there. (Another good reason to get a home warranty by the way.) But because you won’t know everything about this home until you live there, please make sure to do your best research.
Take Homeowners insurance as an example. The natural hazard disclosure is a document that will tell you about the surroundings of the home whether you’re in a fire zone, flood zone, earthquake zone (yeah that’s a given in So Cal) but by making sure to read this document, you’ll know if you need more coverage for your home. Plus, do me a favor & don’t get cheap insurance. Consider things like if a pipe breaks, how much out of pocket expense will you have if something like that happens. Again, homeownership means taking responsibility.
I recently had a past client call me with this exact problem. They unexpectedly had a flood (well who ever expects it). To their discontent, they had to move out & have their insurance help them with re-mediating the damage. Unfortunately, they did not take out enough coverage so their out of pocket expense is much higher than they had planned for. Not the best news when you have a 13 month old baby. To top it all off when the insurance adjuster came out to assess the damage and they discovered they have asbestos.
How on earth?!!?? Well the news came as a surprise to me too. We did our diligence during the inspection process. In fact, the house had been completely renovated before they bought it. No popcorn ceilings, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances. This home was a deal! But 2 years later, asbestos! Really? You can only imagine how they felt about this discovery. How did this happen? It’s no one’s fault really. We did our diligence. Unless we could prove that the seller knew about the problem, there’s no way we could go after them. I checked with the legal department of my association & sure enough, there’s no real battle for these homeowners. They must take responsibility of their home & deal with the insurance company to handle the problem. Luckily for them, everything is being taken care of & their expenses of temporary housing are paid for by the insurance company. But this is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to take responsibility as a homeowner.
Once you’ve made the decision & signed on the dotted line, things will come up. It’s true with anything in life. When you get married, you decide to commit yourselves to one another. But how high is the divorce rate? How about when you have a child, there’s no guarantee that you will live to see the day they graduate, let alone take their first step.
I’m not trying to get psychological on you but homeownership is as serious as marriage or raising a child. Make sure you are prepared, be responsible, and take ownership of your decision.