As a Home Buyer, you can prepare for your home closing by becoming educated about what you should know, what you'll need to do, and what you should bring to the closing. To help you through this learning process, we have put together a collection of resources that many have found helpful.
Here are answers to some of the questions you may have while looking for your home and a checklist to guide you:

1. What are the buyer's responsibilities in the transaction?
  • » Investigate and inspect the property.
  • » Reasonably consider the age and overall condition of the home.
  • » Take an active role, ask questions.
  • » Exercise reasonable care to protect yourself.
  • » Verify verbal statements. Get them in writing!
  • » Review the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS), paying particular attention to the date prepared and to questions answered "unknown" or left unanswered.
  • » Hire a professional home inspector and attend the inspection.
  • » Be aware of all contractual obligations.

2. What is the role of the buyer's REALTOR®?
  • » Find properties that meet your needs.
  • » Assist in answering your questions or direct you to other sources for answers.
  • » Prepare the purchase contract according to your instructions.
  • » Submit all offers and counteroffers promptly.
  • » Coordinate inspections and walkthroughs.
  • » Promptly communicate the status of your transaction while in escrow.

3. What should the buyer do to investigate and inspect the property?
  • » Tell your REALTOR® what's important to you. Your REALTOR® can either answer your questions or direct you to other sources that can.
  • » Verify all important information from any source (e.g., MLS information, advertising, etc.) that could affect whether you'd buy the p roperty or how much you would pay for it.
  • » Check nearby property uses.
  • » Conduct the necessary inspections. At a minimum, your inspection of the property should include: the roof, structural integrity, heating and cooling systems, termites or other pests, electrical and plumbing, waste disposal, square footage and property lines.
  • » Look for sources of indoor moisture that can cause mold. If you see mold, or there is an earthy or musty ordor in the property, further investigation, testing, and mold removal may be warranted since some individuals may experience health problems related to mold exposure .
  • » Conduct a final walkthrough to verify that the property is in substantially the same condition as it was at acceptance and that all requested repairs, if any, have been satisfactorily completed.

4. What other information might the buyer want to look for?
This will depend on your needs, plans for the property, and what's important to you. The following checklist contains some of the property's non-physical conditions that you may wish to address:
  • » Neighborhood or area conditions
  • » Schools, day care facilities, health facilities
  • » Availability of fire protection, emergency, and other services
  • » Crime statistics, adequacy of law enforcement
  • » Proximity of registered sex offenders |
  • » Proximity to commercial, industrial, or agricultural activities
  • » Existing and proposed transportation, construction, and development
  • » Views, traffic, airport flight paths, other noises or odors from any source
  • » Wildlife and domestic animals; other nuisances, hazards, or circumstances
  • » Existence of required governmental permits, inspections, or certificates
  • » Governmental limitations, restrictions, and requirements, including zoning and flood plain, affecting the use of the property
  • » Condition of common areas and facilities (if any)
  • » Existence of deed restrictions, conditions, covenants and restrictions (CC&R's), easements, or other governing documents
  • » Information regarding any homeowners' associations, including, but not limited to, minutes, financial statements, pending special assessments, claims, and litigation
  • » Current or past infestation by termites, scorpions, insects or other pests
  • » Conditions relating to your personal needs, requirements, and preferences

You may have a wide range of concerns and may desire additional information or investigation of issues. Discuss these with your REALTOR®. Many times, your REALTOR® can direct you to the appropriate inspector or consultant.

5. How can buyers protect themselves from the cost of property defects?
  • » Get a home inspection. The seller and the agents may not know of existing property defects. A home inspection is critical to the buyer as it enables a buyer to determine the condition of the property before close of escrow and negotiate possible solutions to any problems before electing to go forward with the transaction.
  • » Get a home warranty. Buyers are strongly encouraged to buy a home warranty. However, all policies are not alike. Read your policy for possible coverage limitations or restrictions.

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