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  • Minneapolis, MN:  Your gotten Pre-approved for your Mortgage Loan, met with a Real Estate Agent, searched far and wide, and fallen in love with your dream house.

    For most people, the house choice is a lot about emotions.  So take a step back before you make your offer to ask and thing about these questions. Rent vs Own

    1: Utilities. How much do the average utilities run?  Find out. Does the house use gas, electric? Central air, window air. Older homes will typically cost more, newer homes less.  Bigger home cost more than smaller home. Of course maybe the current owner keeps the heat at 74 in the winter, and you are more of a 68 degree person. So don’t get too hung up on their numbers. Just be sure to factor utilities.

    2: How old is the roof? The typical asphalt roofing needs to be replaced every 25 to 30 years.  If the roof is newer, you don’t have to factor anything for many years to come.  If the roof is older, it shouldn’t be any deal stopper by itself, just understand that expense is on the horizon.

    3: Appliances: Are they staying. If so, do you like them, or are they in need of replacement?  Appliances typically last around 15-years.  How about the furnace and central air conditioner?  How old are they? Again, just because they may be older doesn’t mean do buy the house.  Just something to consider. Do the sellers have all the owners manuals?  When I bought my last house, the sellers gave me a packet with all the owners manuals.  That was nice.

    4: Parking: While this is mostly for townhomes and condos, it can also apply to any house.  How many vehicles do you have. Where can you park.  Are there parking restrictions.

    5: Animals:  Again, primarily to townhomes and condos.  But also many single family homes are part of an owners association that may have restriction of animals.

    6: Unusual History: Many states have disclosure rules that the current owner is legally bound to disclosure, like if a major crime occurred there. But aside from major crimes, there are items that may affect you, like the home being owned by a TV or sports star, and crazy fans show up ringing your doorbell for autographs. Is the home the local haunted house all the local are aware of, but you are new to the area and have no idea?

    7: Water: Water causes major damage to homes every year.  If the house in a flood plain? Even if not, it is at the low end of the block and floods whenever there is heavy rain? What about gutters? When I bought my current house, there were no gutters, and water ran the the neighbors yard directly into the one side of the home.  Both were causing minor water issues. Both were easily fixed, and I haven’t had issues since.

    8: Major Improvements: You may love the addition the current owner put on the house.  But was it done right?  Did they obtain proper permits?  Sadly, there are some bad contractors who do shoddy work, but most improvement failures are caused by the current owner not knowing proper code, or cutting corners.

    The bottom line:

    None of these items are immediate cause to run from a house purchase. But rather items to simply consider when making the largest financial transaction of most peoples lives.

    The way to avoid many issues is with a proper inspection. Never skip the inspection, and always triple check the reputation of the inspector. Many areas have no requirements for being a home inspection.

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