First-Time Homebuyer – First Bank https://localfirstbank.com North and South Carolina Community Bank Sun, 22 Apr 2018 09:05:44 -0400 en-US hourly 1 4 Common Costs Of Renovating An Older Home https://localfirstbank.com/article/4-common-costs-of-renovating-an-older-home/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:13:03 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=9868

Older homes appeal to a number of home buyers. They tend to be located in great locations, are durable, come at a good price and have original features that are not found in newer houses today.

However, they may come with some problems that need to be addressed before moving in. Homes that are built before 1990 tend to be considered older, while homes built before 1920 are sometimes referred to as antique.

Whether it’s a simple fix or a big project, the cost can add up quickly. Before you decide to make the purchase, you should know how to identify potential red flags and estimate the total cost of the renovation.

What To Look For

Foundation Problems

The most costly repairs are found when there are problems with the foundation. Depending on the type of ground the house lays on, various problems can occur. Usually unstable ground, any seismic activity, and lots of moist soil over a period of time can lead to problems.

What to keep in mind:

  • Are there major cracks?
  • Is there unevenness in foundation walls?
  • Are there cracked tiles or concrete floors?
  • Look for floors that are not level.
  • Look for stuck windows and doors that fail to latch.

Estimated cost: if there are repairs or a replacement needed to the foundation, costs can quickly skyrocket up into the $20,000-$30,000 range. It is important to factor these costs into the final price of the house when looking at an older home with structural damage.

Plumbing

When searching for an older home, one should ask the previous owner or Realtor about the plumbing system. Knowing how old and what type of pipes are in the house can be handy information. Brass, copper, and PEX pipes can all last an average of around 50 years. However steel and polybutylene pipes can wear down in as little as 20 years and have more problems.

What to keep in mind:

Estimated costs: it is not uncommon to ask for the previous owner to reduce your price of the cost to replace polybutylene pipes. However, if you are paying for it yourself, whole-house pipe replacement can cost anywhere between $2,000-$5,000 depending on how many pipes are in the home.

Hazardous Materials

Three hazardous materials to know before you buy an older home are asbestos, radon, and lead. All 3 are more common in older homes and can lead to serious health consequences if not taken care of.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was used commonly as insulation in walls, pipes, and homes before the 1980s. If asbestos is enclosed properly and not exposed to the open air, it is harmless. When exposed, the asbestos fibers cause myriad health problems such as mesothelioma.

Lead, which is particularly hazardous for children, can be found in paint and plumbing systems of a home built before the 1980s. And radon is a radioactive type of gas that occurs naturally from the type of bedrock the house is built on and can cause lung cancer over long periods of exposure.

What to keep in mind:

  • The type of paint used in the exterior and interior of the home.
  • Look for exposed, crumbly asbestos in insulation, pipes, and ceilings.
  • Buy a radon test-kit to test for radon in your home.

Estimated costs: you can buy home testing kits for radon and lead to check the levels in the home. If radon, lead, or asbestos is present, it would be best to hire a professional to remove it. Lead paint removal can be done for between $8 to $15 per square foot on average. Radon can be handled for an average cost of $1,300 per home. Depending on the size of the asbestos, a wall or pipe system can cost anywhere between $750-$1,200. However, a whole house project removal of asbestos can run as steep as $18,000.

Electrical

Electrical fires, shocks, power failures, and shorts are all at an increased risk when buying an older home. And keep in mind, those houses also contain fewer outlets throughout the home, which can be a problem with all the technology we use today.

It’s important to find out the age and condition of the wiring in the home you are looking at.

What to keep in mind:

  • Look for exposed wiring out of walls and outlets.
  • Will you need to add any outlets?
  • Is there any water damage?
  • The age of the wiring used.

Estimated cost: since electrical work is dangerous, it is best to contact a local, licensed electrician, who may charge anywhere between $50-$100 an hour.

After that, the price is dependent on how many outlets, breakers, or panels need to be addressed or installed. The cost is $50-$100 per outlet, breakers are anywhere from $5-$30 dollars, and a new service panel can be the most expensive at anywhere between $200-$500 plus labor.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the list of frequent repairs above. It can still be truly beneficial to purchase an older home, but you’ll need to invest to fix the problems. Seek out skilled professionals and work from quality local resources. Before you know it, you’ll have the home of your dreams.

Ready to get started? We have great options for mortgages, including construction loans.

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The Right Age to Buy a House https://localfirstbank.com/article/the-right-age-to-buy-a-house/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:25:36 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=9244

Although buying a house for the first time is a big decision, it turns out there is no perfect age to do it. When it comes to taking the plunge, it’s more about individual readiness.

You’re likely ready to buy your first home if you:

  • Have steady income.
  • Have saved enough for a required down payment and closing costs.
  • Have an emergency fund with three to six months’ expenses.
  • Have little or no other significant debt.
  • Plan to stay in the home at least three to five years to recoup initial expenses.
  • Have improved your credit as much as possible.
  • Can comfortably afford mortgage payments for homes in your desired location.

While there’s no “right” age, there are trade-offs between buying when you’re a young adult and waiting until you’re older.

Why buy a home earlier in life?

If you can swing it, homeownership in your twenties or thirties brings many advantages.

For starters, money spent on rent is lost forever, and you don’t even get a tax break for your trouble. When you buy a home, you’re actually investing in your future, potentially reaping a nice tax break for the mortgage interest you pay (be sure to talk to your tax professional to confirm any benefits to which you may be entitled).

Over time, you’ll build equity you can borrow against if necessary, and the value of your home may increase enough to bring a substantial profit when you sell. Or if you stay in your home long enough, you’ll pay off your mortgage completely and enjoy living free of that monthly payment.

Why wait, then?

Sometimes putting off home purchase can be a good thing, too.

When you’re in your middle years or older, chances are you’ll have a higher, steadier income and a better idea of where you’d like to settle down than when you were first starting out.

You’ll also leave yourself time to build excellent credit, which may qualify you for the best available mortgage rates and terms. Additionally, taking the years to save a large down payment improves loan-to-value ratio, making it easier to find affordable financing.

Not ready? You’re not alone

The Pew Research Center found that young adults are waiting longer on average to move out of their parental homes than they were a generation ago, with over 32% of adults aged 18 to 34 still living with their parents.

The increasing age of first marriage also comes into play. For the first time in more than 130 years, this demographic is less likely to be living independently with a spouse or partner than remaining in their parental home, according to Pew’s analysis.

First-home purchase age also increased slightly. Zillow reports that back in the 1970s, most first-time homebuyers were 29 to 30 years old and often married with a child. Today’s first-time homebuyers average about 32 years of age and are more likely to be single.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

But if you are ready

First Bank can help you decide if the time is right to buy by providing expert financial guidance and a wide variety of competitive mortgage options including conventional and government loans.

You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable mortgage loan professionals who can help talk you through the process and next steps.

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How to Avoid Paying Too Much for a House https://localfirstbank.com/article/how-to-avoid-paying-too-much-for-a-house/ Wed, 13 May 2015 15:50:06 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=4054

Imagine you just crossed the threshold of your dream home. It has a spacious two-car garage, bedrooms for each of your kids, and way more counter space than your current rental.

There’s only one problem: price. It seems a bit on the high side, even for a home this perfect—but is it?

If you ask Cara Pierce, a real estate broker with Fonville Morisey in North Carolina’s Triangle region, the best way to answer that question is through due diligence. “Buyers should consider recent home sales data for the area they want to live,” Pierce says. “In many parts of our local market, overpricing is the primary reason homes are still for sale after 30 to 60 days.”

But whether a home’s price complements local sales data only addresses part of the pricing issue. You should also get to know the neighborhood and be willing to ask very specific questions about a property before making a commitment.

Feeling the neighborhood vibe

If a neighborhood isn’t a good fit for you and your family, the home’s price will always be too high. Remember, you’re not just buying the home. You’re paying for the location, too.

“Buyers should visit a house on at least 4 different occasions and at different times of day before deciding to buy,” says Fidel Davila, a real estate agent at Ed Price & Associates in High Point, North Carolina. “You should get a feel for the dynamics of the neighborhood.”

Does the quality of the surrounding area justify a home’s price? Access to good schools and recreational facilities can increase property values over time just as traffic noise and crime can lower them.

To the extent possible, try to determine whether a community will be as desirable 10 years from now as it is today. If you aren’t confident that the value of your investment will rise substantially over time, a seemingly high-priced home might be exactly that: too expensive.

The thinking is similar when it comes to a home’s overall condition. “Buyers should ask lots of questions about a house’s condition,” says Pierce. “How old is the roof? Will you need to replace it soon? The same goes for heating and air systems, windows, and exterior painting. You’ve got to scrutinize every potential expense when evaluating a home’s list price.”

Buyers in North Carolina should also consider how new construction influences a home’s price tag. If you’re set on buying a brand new house, be aware that you’re probably paying extra for the new materials used to build it. According to Pierce, “High construction material costs, high land prices, and high consumer demand are making new homes more expensive in the current market.”

If you can find an appealing older home in the same area as the new one that’s tempting you, you might end up with a better deal.

Preparing your finances

One thing many homebuyers forget is that a large portion of a home’s price lies in the long-term cost of the mortgage. If you only have an average credit score and haven’t saved much for a down payment, you might end up paying more than you should for a house—if you’re approved for a loan at all.

Consider how your repayment history will affect your interest rate. If you’ve missed some payments or carry credit card debt, focus on repairing your credit before buying a home.

As Pierce explains, “Good credit, a history of on-time payments, and being gainfully employed will make you a good lending candidate.” And a better lending candidate will get a better rate.

Having a sizable down payment comes in handy, too. Putting down 20% means you won’t have to purchase private mortgage insurance, lowering a home’s overall costs even further.

You could also qualify for a lower interest rate and begin your homeownership journey with substantial equity. In the end, you pay thousands of dollars less over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

In any case, never buy a home on impulse or just because you love the property features. North Carolina buyers should note that only sellers pay real estate commissions to brokers, so connecting with a licensed broker is a great way to obtain realistic guidance about a home’s price relative to its market value. A broker will also represent you throughout the buying process, free of charge.

“If you’re looking at a house listed at $150K but everything else in the neighborhood sells for around $125K, it’s time to start asking questions,” says Davila. “Otherwise, you could end up paying too much.”

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Money Pit or DIY Heaven? https://localfirstbank.com/article/money-pit-or-diy-heaven/ Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:17:50 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3787

Whether you flip houses or see your potential dream home in something that’s currently a bit rundown, it can be hard to tell if the property you’re planning to renovate will turn out to be a fortunate find or a total flop.

The following are tips on easy updates that can increase the value of a home and on the money pit projects you should steer clear of.

As you read and consider your options, be realistic about your skill level – you can save a lot of money by doing the labor yourself, but if you don’t know anything about plumbing or wiring, for example, hire a professional. It will only end up costing you more if you have to pay someone to fix a botched DIY project.

Cosmetic touchups: DIY heaven

Sometimes you just need a little imagination to see beyond the ‘70s decor and tangerine walls.

If the seller hasn’t put a lot of effort into cleaning and staging the home, many prospective buyers will have a hard time picturing themselves living there. As tough as it might be to ignore the staring eyes of the current owner’s massive porcelain doll collection or the grass-green shag carpeting, savvy homebuyers can block out the visual noise to see the possibilities.

Focus on the layout and structure of the home. With those dolls out of the way, a fresh coat of paint, and some new carpeting, the house could be totally transformed.

New countertops or floors: it depends

New countertops or flooring can be fairly easy to install depending on the material you choose.

A laminate countertop or floor is much easier to install than a granite countertop or carpeting. Granite is expensive and heavy, and one miscalculation or incorrect cut can be a very costly mistake. Carpeting is also less forgiving than other types of flooring like tile or wood.

Do your research before tackling a bigger project like this, and don’t be afraid to call two or three contractors for estimates. You may be surprised to find that it’s less expensive to hire someone than you thought.

Even if you end up going DIY, a contractor can give you some good insight into options you may not have considered as you discuss the best ways to get the job done.

Concrete cracks: it depends

Carefully check the foundation and walls for any cracks. Do the doors open and close easily? Are the floors bulging anywhere? These can be signs of major foundational issues, and big issues mean big money.

It’s not always as simple as repairing the crack itself. All foundations crack eventually, so talk with an inspector to see if that crack is a serious problem or if it’s just settling.

Additionally, you’ll want to look above doors and windows on the second floor, where damage can be more severe. Horizontal cracks in the wall can be caused by an excess of water and likely mean a leaky pike or two for a plumber to repair.

Electrical issues: money pit

Electrical issues are beyond the scope of the average DIYer and are a lot of work, even for a professional.

Since wiring runs inside the walls of the home, the walls will need to be opened up and then put back together once the wiring is fixed. HVAC is particularly difficult to install, and a new system can be very expensive.

You’ll also want to make sure that very little of your newly heated or cooled air is escaping, so insulation plays an important role here. In general, rewiring a house for electricity or heating and air conditioning is a major and time-consuming expense, so be wary about taking this on.

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Simplifying the Home Buying Process https://localfirstbank.com/article/simplifying-the-home-buying-process-infographic/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:55:32 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3783

The home buying process can be daunting, especially for first-timers. When should I start looking? How much do I need for a downpayment? Fear not! With an organized approach and solid advice, you can navigate the path to your ideal home with confidence. This infographic is a great place to start:

The Home Buying Process

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Tips for Winning a Bidding War in a Hot Home Market https://localfirstbank.com/article/tips-for-winning-a-bidding-war-in-a-hot-home-market/ Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:02:40 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3776

Trying to distinguish your offer on a home in a high-stakes bidding war? Consider adopting the seller’s dog.

It probably sounds unconventional, but Wendy Tanson, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina real estate broker, once saw a zealous buyer use this very tactic to secure a deal. “The buyer’s offer to keep the dog made it much easier for the seller to move,” Tanson says. “It just goes to show that creative tactics can go a long way toward helping buyers get the homes they want.”

But while being creative might help when you can adopt the seller’s pet, hang on to an unwieldy grand piano, or remove piles of clutter from the basement, few real-world deals open themselves to such unorthodox negotiating tactics. In most heated bidding wars, cash—not creativity—is still king.

Pad the seller’s pocket

One of the best ways to triumph in a bidding war is to cover the seller’s costs.

From transfer taxes to realtor commissions, the fees associated with home sales can be a drain on the seller’s windfall. If you want a house badly enough, try doing what many buyers aren’t willing to do: take on those expenses.

“You’ve got to throw in closing costs,” says Anne Humphries, a real estate agent whose firm serves the Florence, South Carolina market. “I’ve even seen buyers reimburse sellers for renovations that were done just prior to listing the home for sale.”

Besides covering the seller’s costs, consider automatically outbidding other buyers with an escalation clause. The way it works is that instead of telling a seller you’re willing to pay $365,000 for a home listed at $375,000, you say, “I’m willing to pay $365,000 for this home, but if you receive an offer for $365,000, I’ll pay $367,000” and so on until your bid escalates to a predetermined limit.

It’s kind of like eBay except you could end up paying more than other bidders, depending on the wording of the clause.

“Buyers who take on escalation costs are at an advantage when bidding gets intense,” explains Tanson. It’s also a win for sellers because they could end up getting more for a house than the highest direct offer they receive.

Lower the seller’s risk

Determined bidders with ample liquidity and unwavering faith in their dream home can waive their legal protections and transfer risk from the sellers to themselves.

According to home sales data collected by Redfin in 2013, ceding certain contractual contingencies is helping many bidders secure a winning offer. Of course, there could be consequences.

Consider the inspection contingency–you are free to waive this in an effort to woo the seller, but you’ll be on the hook if the home needs significant TLC.

The same goes for financing contingencies. You can waive these protections (which ensure you’re not penalized if you can’t get financing), but if you have trouble getting a loan, you could get be on the hook for the cost of the house!

“Making a clean, uncomplicated offer can attract a seller when other offers are rife with provisions,” says Tanson. “It can be a good strategy in a multiple-offer situation.”

Get personal

Adding a personal touch to your offer also makes a difference, especially when the seller is juggling multiple bids from equally qualified buyers.

How do you do it? By sending a letter. And yes, we’re talking about the paper-and-envelope kind.

While it might strike you as old fashioned, sending a seller a thoughtfully composed letter can sometimes curry favor and give you an edge over the competition. Is it manipulative? Maybe.

But this is a bidding war, and desperate times call for… well, you know.

As long as your letter sincerely conveys why you love the home, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with appealing to a seller’s emotions. Tanson relates an anecdote in which a prospective buyer, an electric train enthusiast, sent a letter to a seller, also an electric train enthusiast, explaining how he planned to keep the seller’s “train room” a train room. Ultimately, the buyer’s affinity for trains was a deciding factor for the seller, and the train room abides to this day.

“Knowing a lot about your seller” can often push your bid to the top, says Tanson. Sometimes, all it takes is a little research, a nice letter, and a little creativity to distinguish your bid from the rest.

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Should I Buy an Older Home? https://localfirstbank.com/article/should-i-buy-an-older-home/ Tue, 10 Feb 2015 15:58:05 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3761

There’s something about historic homes that’s quite appealing.

How many people have paced this floor? What events happened here? You can just imagine the years passing, while the old house still stands right where it always has.

It’s a charm, a certain majestic air, which new buildings just can’t replicate. But if you’ve never bought an older home before, you may not know what to expect. Some people assume that a historical home will be falling down around their ears, while others picture a grand sanctuary where they can recreate a moment in the past.

The truth, of course, depends on the condition of the house you purchase. First Bank takes a look at the questions you should ask yourself before you buy.

How much work are you willing to do?

This is probably the most important question. Old plumbing, rotten floors, asbestos, and other issues may take weeks or even months to repair or renovate.

Obviously, you’ll want to bring the house up to code and comply with safety standards, so make sure you hire a competent home inspector who can tell you what you’ll need to replace right away and what will need to be fixed down the road (more on that below).

If you’re looking for something that’s move-in ready, an older home is probably not for you.

What’s your budget?

All that work won’t come for free. If your budget precludes the hiring of contractors and professionals, you’d better be sure that you’re willing and able to do the work yourself.

Historical homes often have outdated wiring and plumbing, and they may not have any heating or air conditioning, so it requires some specialized knowledge to bring it up to today’s standards.

You don’t want to take on more than you feel you can reasonably afford. The only thing more stressful than undertaking a huge home renovation is undertaking a huge home renovation while you’re worrying about money.

What does the inspector say?

Your home inspector is your new best friend when you’re looking at historical homes. Make sure you go along on the home inspection, take notes, and ask every question you can think of.

If possible, hire a home inspector who has experience with historical homes, as he or she will have a better idea of what to be on the lookout for. Pay particular attention to the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, and foundation, as these are all areas that tend to need major (and costly!) repairs.

If you have the time, skills, and money to invest in a historical home, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Before you move forward with a purchase, check with the National Register of Historic Places to see if there are any restrictions on how you can renovate your historical home. You don’t want to purchase property with plans to expand the square footage or alter the exterior, only to find out that it’s protected or restricted.

If you decide to buy a historical home, there are grants and programs that First Bank can help you apply for to aid in financing your renovations. Contact a First Bank representative when you’re ready to start the house-hunting process or apply for a mortgage, and we’ll guide you in the right direction.

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Roof Maintenance Tips https://localfirstbank.com/article/roof-maintenance-tips/ Tue, 03 Feb 2015 16:20:22 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3464

Your roof is one of the most essential parts of your home. It keeps the sun off, the rain and the snow out, and your heat and air conditioning inside. A roof isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.

Severe roof damage can seriously disrupt your life, wreaking havoc on your home as well as your wallet. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange roof replacement sets you back an average of $18,913, and an upscale roof replacement costs an average of almost $35,000.

The best way to extend the life of your roof for as long as possible is with twice yearly maintenance. The two harshest seasons are summer and winter, so you should perform these tasks at the end of each of these seasons.

Here are some basic things you can do to care for your roof and maximize its life expectancy.

Check the gutters

Do this at the end of the fall or spring, when leaves and sticks are more likely to clutter your gutter.

First, check the downspout and remove any large debris. Flush the gutter out with a hose starting at the end of the gutter that’s farthest from the downspout. Does the water drain? If not, the gutter may be clogged.

Use a gutter-cleaning hose attachment or a plumber’s snake tool to clear any blockages inside your gutter. Check for leaks by plugging the gutter and filling it with water. Let the gutter dry before repairing any leaks.

Trim the trees

After you’ve checked and cleaned the gutters, take note of any tree branches over your roof. These could be the source of leaves and twigs in your gutters, and they can cause other issues, too.

Severe weather can cause boughs to break and crash into your roof, damaging or even tearing a hole in it. Also, small animals like squirrels can use the tree to access your roof and gnaw on shingles and wiring.

Fix the shingles

Be very careful before attempting to go out onto your roof. If you feel uncomfortable, hire a professional.

If you do tackle this one on your own, only venture out on the roof if it is solid and sound, and the pitch is relatively shallow. Wear sturdy shoes with good soles, and wait for a warm, dry afternoon. Never climb onto a roof after a storm or in the morning, as it can be wet from dew.

Once you’ve gotten onto your roof, look for any loose shingles and secure them with roof cement. If part of a shingle is missing or damaged, you’ll need to replace the entire shingle.

Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering at the edges are nearing the end of their lifespan and should be replaced. Cracked shingles can be repaired or replaced.

Give it a once over

While you’re on the roof, take a good look around:

  • Identify and repair any holes where rodents or water could enter.
  • Check the flashing around the chimney and vents. If the caulk is peeling, remove it, clean the area, and seal with fresh caulk.
  • Inspect and repair the chimney mortar, if needed.
  • Clear any debris off the roof and check fans and vents for blockages.
  • Make sure, if your roof is covered in gravel or ballast, that it is evenly spread and that the whole surface is protected.

Roof repairs are some of the most expensive costs you’ll deal with as a homeowner, but regular maintenance can extend the life of your roof by years. You need to regularly check your roof to find and fix any little problems before they become big ones.

If your roof is particularly steep or you simply feel uncomfortable, don’t skip the maintenance check; hire a professional. It will save you money in the long run.

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How to Shop Bank-Owned Properties https://localfirstbank.com/article/how-to-shop-bank-owned-properties/ Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:01:59 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3427

Bank-owned properties can be a savvy choice for first-time buyers looking for a deal and for seasoned property investors alike.

This is because the properties are often listed for sale at a tremendous discount since the bank (after the foreclosure process or through debt resolutions) would prefer not to own forever or to lease the real estate.

So if you’re up for a challenge and for trying something new, here are some tips that will help you through the bank-owned property shopping process.

It’s a normal real estate transaction

Here’s a secret. Even though you go through a bank, it’s still a normal real estate transaction. And while the bank often works with outside brokers as the intermediary, you may find one (like First Bank) where bank employees are licensed brokers themselves.

Unlike a traditional real estate transaction with other types of properties, the offer and purchase process can go quickly, since much of the paperwork, analysis, and decision making is all within the various departments of the same bank. And once your offer has been approved, you can sometimes close in the same week!

Ask for help, it’s available

Like a house, but feeling stuck? Just reach out to the bank for more information, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.

You’re sure to receive ethical and helpful treatment, even for the properties that need a lot of work. Plus, establishing a relationship with a bank for this purchase can lead to additional valuable financial avenues for more of your future plans (like remodeling).

You might have some picking up to do

Speaking of remodeling, be prepared for a fixer upper. Some of these homes may have deferred maintenance during the foreclosure process or be in need of updating to more current or popular interior finishes.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still great finds since you’re still going to get a deal on the purchase price. Think of the process as a treasure hunt.

More information on buying foreclosure properties

Want to dig into how and why to buy a bank-owned property even more? Check out this free white paper. You will learn about:

  • How foreclosed homes provide great buying opportunities
  • Why your purchase is good for the neighborhood
  • Factors to consider when buying this type of house

Save money and save the neighborhood!

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5 Ways to Spot Future Water Damage Before You Buy a Home https://localfirstbank.com/article/5-ways-to-spot-future-water-damage-before-you-buy-a-home/ Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:11:02 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=3169

Nothing wreaks more havoc on a home than water damage. It can warp wooden furniture, make your carpets and drywall moldy, and even cause your floors to rot through.

Luckily, there are several ways to spot potential problem areas before you’ve even bought the house! If you’re in the market for a new home, keep an eye out for these water damage warning signs.

1. Follow Your Nose

During the walkthrough, take note of any unusual smells, particularly in the garage, basement, and bathrooms.

If something smells moldy or musty, make a note and follow up on it. Look for visible signs of mold, like discoloration on the walls and floorboards, and if you are planning on making a bid, hire a good home inspector. Ask him or her to use an infrared camera to check any suspect spots for mold or water damage.

2. Visit After a Storm

If you’re seriously considering a particular house, examine the exterior immediately after a rainstorm.

Where is the water flowing? What about gutter runoff? The ground should slope away from the house to avoid water damage.

Pay special attention to any crawl spaces as well as the foundation, and feel for any dampness, as this could be a sign of water intrusion.

3. Check the Roof

Look for shingles that appear loose, dimpled, or discolored, as these can be warning signs of leaks to come.

If you live in a snowy area, take special note of icicles hanging from the eaves during the winter. They may look pretty, but they indicate an ice dam.

If the roof isn’t well insulated, heat will leak out, melting the snow. Then, when more snow falls, that melted under-layer is trapped and can seep into the roof and walls.

4. Examine Windows and Door Frames

This is another one you can do without actually entering the house. Walk around and look at the windows and doors. Do you see any gaps between the wall and the sills? Is the caulk peeling? Is the wood discolored or soft?

This can indicate water damage or rot. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but if you choose to purchase that house, make sure to repair and replace any of the damaged wood, and try to locate the source of the water so your replacement wood doesn’t suffer the same soggy fate.

5. Listen for Leaks

Drip, drip, drip…if a sink, faucet, bathtub, or shower head is leaking away, this is a red flag. The leak may have just started—or it’s been going on for years, and the extent of the damage won’t become apparent until the floor starts buckling.

If the water in the house is turned on, check each faucet for leaks. Turn it on and off, and make sure the flow of water stops completely. Otherwise, you may have an issue down the line.

Get Help to Tackle Repairs

The Insurance Information Institute reported that in 2012, 17.5% of homeowner insurance losses were caused by water damage and freezing, with an average of more than $7,000 in damages.

If you find signs of current water damage (or it could be an issue in the future), you don’t have to rule that house out. Talk with your home inspector and see if you can incorporate some repairs into your offer.

Do your due diligence before you even purchase a home, and you can avoid sinking money into a waterlogged house.

 

 

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