Home Purchase Planning – Get it Right the First Time
Home purchase planning success requires commitment. The process of purchasing a home is an extremely stressful activity. If you are building a new one, or having one built, you want to get it right the first time. Once the building process starts changes become harder and more expensive to make. If you are buying a “ready-built” you will probably not get all your “wants.” You may have to compromise and accept what is already available, or be prepared to have wanted features added at additional, and perhaps hard to determine, cost. Careful planning of the purchase, no matter which avenue is taken, is extremely important. Too many times “buyer’s remorse” sets in soon after a purchase or build decision is made due to overlooked features important to the buyer or necessary to proper enjoyment of the home. Fortunately, through observation and discussion of many home buying experiences, the experiences of those who have “been down that road before” can be harnessed to prevent many of the mistakes that may portend trouble for the unaware. A systematic application of the following home-buying tips should increase your satisfaction with the home and amenities you decide on.
Home Purchase Planning Consistency
As previously mentioned, “Get it right the first time.” Plan, and then plan again. A consistent, constant review of your planning should be performed. After you start your home acquisition process, don’t hesitate to change your requirements, or delay the process until you are firmly cognizant of what you want. Delayed changes mean more expense later. Make a list of and prioritize your likes, must haves, and dislikes. Include:
- House type: rancher, single level, multi-level, frame, brick, rock, combination, other.
- House location: lot type, views, proximity to work & entertainment, school locations.
- All colors.
- Furnishings and decorating requirements.
- Layouts: sleeping, baths, dining, work areas, garages, play areas, swimming pool, storage, special requirements (e.g., single level for disabled or elderly), flower and vegetable garden areas, trees, etc.
- Materials: internal and external.
- Outside living amenities: patios, decks, fences.
- Lighting: inside and outside
- Routine care and maintenance required: what you can do yourself and what must be hired. What equipment will you have to buy?
- Renovation requirements: those changes or additions that might be required to bring up to your standards.
A Major Concern
A major concern of the home buying or building process is the heating and cooling system. The wrong selection of equipment type and capacities will likely lead to dissatisfaction and costly correction of the problem. Proper sizing is a feature that is often left to some “rule of thumb” based on the size of the structure and other features such as the insulation, which may not be fully visible, and roof type. While these are certainly features that must be considered, the “rule of thumb” is not the correct way to make the determination. This should be done through heat load calculations which can be done manually or computer generated. These calculations will determine the capacity required for the heating and cooling equipment and will take into account structure size, insulation, roof type, types of windows, types of doors, foundation type, shading of windows, orientation of house, humidity problems, and other features. The method of heat and cooling distribution is also important to capacity determination, since distribution methods are not 100 percent efficient – there are losses in the system. Selection of equipment depends, of course, on the heating and cooling method used – there are many options. Where applicable, scroll compressors offer high efficiency ratings and lower bills. This is also true for multi-stage units which adjust to changing load requirements.
As you move into the final stages where you implement your planning, you should assure that you remain in control of the process. If you are utilizing a Realtor in any part of the process, and do not have an Agency Agreement with the Realtor, it is unlikely that he/she is representing your interests, and may even be responsible to the other party. Be sure you understand and have a written Agency Agreement. If you are building, be sure all work is covered with a valid contract, and that the contract correctly specifies your intent. This may require the services of an attorney – not your real estate agent or the one you think is yours. Have a property survey done even if not required for your closing. Buy title insurance. Keep accurate and complete records of all transactions and proceedings.
If you are buying an existing home, investment in hiring a reputable home inspector would be money well-spent. Be sure he/she is adequately protecting your interests and not the interests (risk reduction and consummation of a sale) of the realtor. Hire the inspector yourself, independent of your Realtor, after “due diligence” investigation of qualifications. Learn ahead of time what will be inspected and how. Be there when the inspection is conducted, review the inspection results with the inspector, and ask a lot of questions. Don’t settle for canned, computerized answers in the written report.