Steve Antonucci's Blog
The phrase “the joys of homeownership” is a staple in most households. But sometimes, you think you hear a snicker behind the smile. Now that you’re finally ready to become an owner, you might be wondering if that term is truthful or sarcastic. The answer is “Both.”
How can it be both?
No doubt about it, buying a home and making it yours is a fantastic achievement. Taking on part of the American dream builds your confidence, creates community stability and sets your household’s future on a positive trajectory. However, a home can also become an albatross. That could be what happens when you blindly purchase a home without an upfront and thorough inspection. Even a home that a relative or friend sells to you needs a professional home inspector to give you a baseline of what maintenance and repairs it may need.
How do you stay "joyful?"
- Insist on a home inspection. As mentioned earlier, even if someone you know sells you the home, paying for an inspector to report on what’s up with the home’s major systems means you can plan for your future. If the inspection says the roof needs replacing in five years, you can factor that into your budget and not be surprised or upset when, in five years, you need a new roof.
- Ask for a warranty. As part of the negotiations, have your agent request a home warranty for at least a year. You may even opt for renewal after that year. Get a warranty that covers problems with major systems such as the electrical panel and wiring, plumbing, water heater, HVAC and sprinkler systems. The cost to the seller is typically low, and helps maintain peace of mind when things start to get a little worn.
- Stay on top of maintenance. If you’re handy, this is your moment to shine. Get a list of the most common maintenance issues in a home and schedule it into your free time. These include monitoring for water leaks, changing air conditioning and furnace filters and clearing out the gutters and downspouts before the winter weather wreaks havoc. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, then ask your agent to recommend someone to keep an eye on things for you so that they don’t turn into major problems.
Is homeownership a reason for joy? Of course. But don’t let unexpected expenses and maintenance issues dim your happiness. Ask your agent about home inspections, warranties and repair contractor referrals.
28 COOK St, Newton, MA 02458
28 COOK St, Newton, MA 02458
If a seller approves your offer to purchase his or her house, conducting a home inspection likely will be the next step of the property buying cycle. Although you may have the option to forgo a house inspection, you should not avoid this evaluation. Because if you forgo a home inspection, you may wind up purchasing a house that fails to meet your expectations.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to perform a house inspection before you finalize a home purchase, and these reasons include:
1. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.
A home showing enables you to get an up-close look at a residence so you can determine if a residence is right for you. Meanwhile, an inspection goes one step beyond a showing, as it allows you to work with a property expert to analyze all aspects of a house.
During a home inspection, a property expert will walk through a house and analyze the residence's underlying condition. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.
It is important to assess an inspection report closely. That way, you can learn about a home's condition and decide whether to continue with a house purchase.
2. You can review potential property repairs.
If you want to identify potential house repairs, a home inspection is key. If you conduct a home inspection, you can find out about possible property repairs, review the costs associated with them and plan accordingly.
Of course, if the costs of home repairs are significant, you may want to request a price reduction from a house seller. On the other hand, if various home repairs are simple to complete on your own, you may want to proceed with a home purchase.
3. You can make the best-possible homebuying decision.
Let's face it – buying a home may be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime. If you make a poor decision, you may suffer the consequences of your choice for an extended period of time.
Thanks to a home inspection, you can gain the insights you need to make a data-driven home purchase. Best of all, you can use a home inspection to perform a full analysis of a house and feel good about your decision to buy a residence.
As you get ready to pursue a house, you should hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can help you prepare for a house inspection and complete other homebuying tasks.
For example, a real estate agent will attend a home inspection with you. And after a home inspection is finished, you and your real estate agent can review the inspection results together. Finally, your real estate agent can offer an honest, unbiased recommendation about how to proceed following a house inspection.
Ready to find and acquire your dream home? Conduct an inspection as part of the homebuying process, and you can learn about a house and determine whether a residence matches your expectations.
Investment in real estate rental properties has many upsides. You can make great money long term. But as with any business, there are risks. Before you turn your condo or townhouse into a rental or invest in a house or duplex, consider the ramifications and consult professionals.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Do set up a legal entity to own your rental properties for you. This may be a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation or Partnership. Don’t hold the property in your own name. This protects you from lawsuits and judgments.
- Don’t overspend on the property. Don’t overspend on upgrades or refurbishing.
- Do take care of the major systems such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofs, in-ground sprinklers and garage doors.
- Do get the property inspected to make sure there is no hidden damage or problems you’ll need to fix.
- Don’t buy your first rental without looking at it.
Dealing with Tenants
Owning a rental property does not guarantee you’ll have immediate profits. If you go several months unoccupied, you still must pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance. If you don’t know how to go about getting tenants, consider using a property management service. The small monthly fees you pay usually make up for months with no rent or bad renters.
Another advantage of using a service is that they vet your tenants for you. They run the credit checks and make the phone calls to employers and banks. The only thing worse than no tenant is a bad tenant. Bad tenants damage property, renege on paying their lease payments, and cost you money if you decide to evict them.
As with any home, there’s no actual way to anticipate all the things that could go wrong. Sometimes, one failing system causes problems with other systems. For example, electrical malfunctions can damage the water heater, leading to plumbing failure. A leaky roof might trigger the AC to go out. Don’t run your rental business on a shoestring. Keep funds available to fix anything that goes wrong so that you don’t lose your investment.
If owning rental property is your goal, talk to an experienced real estate professional. They can guide you toward profitable properties, introduce you to property management companies and help you on your way.