Too Good To Be True
With all the advances in technology, searching for real estate has come a long way. Looking at nearby homes (something that once could only be done with the assistance of a well-informed Realtor) can now be done at the touch of your phone through apps like HAR and Zillow.
However, consumers should be wary of homes that appear too good to be true. Be an educated buyer! Do your research and know what the going market rate is for homes in your area.
Also, don’t forget to look into things like school districts, area zoning regulations, and whether or not the area has a MUD (Municipal Utility District). Your local County Appraisal District website is a great place to start this research, and Pearland residents can find this information here. Zillow and HAR are also great resources for finding information on estimated market values and school district feeder patterns.
Although buyers are more savvy than ever, there are always unethical practices you should be wary of: unusually low prices, heavily edited images, and homes that may be intentionally placed in the wrong location on a map to make them look more desirable.
New builds are no exception to the rule. Be sure to do your own research instead of taking what the builder sells at face value. Here are a few questions you should ask:
- How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
- Are you licensed (where required) and insured?
- What type of warranty do you offer?
- Who will oversee the construction of my home? Who should I contact with any questions I may have?
- How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during construction?
- How and when will the final price for my home be determined?
- How often (and when) will I have access to the home during the building process?
- How long will my home take to complete?
- Does the community have a homeowners association (HOA) and/or an Architectural Review Committee? If so, may I get a copy of their rules and the amount of any fees?
- What’s your process for inspection at key points of construction, at final walk-through, and to address any matters that need to be corrected or finalized?
Rental scams are an issue to be aware of as well. There have been several documented instances of scammers hijacking the description and photos from an actual real estate listing to make fake rental ads online.
In this instance, criminals impersonating Realtors scammed a local woman out of thousands of dollars! Always check credentials and make sure you’re working with professionals from the start.
Today’s technology will surely be helpful in beginning your home search. There’s no substitute, however, for enlisting the expertise of a licensed Realtor to help you navigate the home-buying waters and avoid any costly mistakes.