What are the pros and cons of adding on or buying new?
Before making a choice between adding on to an existing home or buying a larger one, consider these questions:
* How much money is available, either from cash reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel your current house?
* How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
* What do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
* How much equity already exists in the property?
* Are there affordable properties for sale that would satisfy your changing housing needs?
Choosing your home starts by examining your priorities and asking the following questions:
* Is the surrounding neighborhood or the home itself
the most important consideration?
* Is each of the neighborhoods safe?
* Is quality of the schools an issue?
* Do any of the areas seem to attract more families with children or adult residents? And where do you fit in?
How do I get the real scoop on homes I am looking at?
Home inspections, seller disclosure requirements and my experience will help. Disclosure laws vary by state, but in Texas, the law
requires the seller to complete a real estate Seller's Disclosure Statement.
Here is a summary of the things you can expect to see in a typical disclosure form:
* In the kitchen -- a range, oven, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash compactor.
* Safety features such as burglar and fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, security gate, window screens and intercom.
* The presence of a TV antenna or satellite dish, carport or garage, automatic garage door opener, rain gutters, sump pump.
* Amenities such as a pool or spa, patio or deck, built-in barbeque and fireplaces.
* Type of heating, condition of electrical wiring, gas supply and presence of any external power source, such as solar panels.
* The type of water heater, water supply, sewer system or septic tank also should be disclosed.
Sellers also are required to indicate any significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home's major systems. A checklist specifies interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, as well as the electrical and plumbing systems. The form also asks sellers to note the presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners, any encroachments or easements, room additions or repairs made without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning violations, citations against the property and lawsuits against the seller affecting the property.
Also look for, or ask about, settling, sliding or soil problems, flooding or
drainage problems and any major damage resulting from earthquakes, floods or
People buying a condominium must be told about covenants, codes and restrictions or other deed restrictions. It's important to note that the simple idea of disclosing defects has broadened significantly in recent years.