It’s October, and this is the month where ghosts and goblins roam the neighbourhood, so I’ve come up with a few scary, scream-worthy real estate horrors that will leave you shaking in your boots. The good news? I also provide a few tips on how to avoid these nightmares.
1. Homes That Have A Past:
There are stories online where unknowing buyers have brought homes that have an unsavory past. Maybe there was a violent crime committed or a home used to be a drug den. Think about it? Can you live in a home that others consider haunted? What if it was offered at a bargain basement price? If you think you can, then you should be able to find a bargain on a property that has a reputation as being less than buyer friendly. But what if you find out this information AFTER you have purchased the home? Disclosure rules are considered by some to be very vague. Talk to your real estate agent for how you can protect yourself if you find out something about your home that wasn’t revealed by the sellers.
2. Scary Home Repairs:
A buyer was ready to purchase a beautiful home that was filled with character. The good news? The home itself was in very good condition. The bad news? Its foundation was a mess that needed costly repairs – much more than the buyer was willing to spend. More good news? The buyer was able to walk out of the deal because she had an inspection contingency in her offer contract. Note to all buyers: NEVER buy a home without having a professional inspection. Even if you have some experience in home repairs or if you know a friend that is willing to help you out, never trust anyone other than an impartial professional home inspector that comes highly recommended. Much like ghosts in the middle of the night, expensive repairs don’t easily show themselves. The last thing you want to purchase is a money pit.
3. Prepare Yourself for Showing Bombshell:
Showing homes that elicit screams from buyers doesn’t happen very much, but with some distressed homes on the market, there are times where stomachs can cringe with the condition of many homes. But there are buyers that want a bargain, either to use as an investment property or to move in themselves. So when this happens, be realistic that there are places that have unpleasant bathrooms, strong odors or not properly maintained overall. Of course, real estate agents should warn their clients about the condition of these properties, but sometimes, especially with foreclosed homes, it’s often difficult to predict if rooms have deteriorated further.
4. Horrors with HOA
Homeowners have a love/hate relationship with HOA fees. For many, it’s a great way to maintain order and living standards, but for others, they see it otherwise. So it is always wise to read, before buying, the rules, conditions, fees and restrictions of a HOA covenant. If you think the rules are too strict, note that chances are you won’t like them any better once you move in. Think twice before buying a home or condo if you think you can’t live with the HOA.
5. Neighbour Nightmares
Imagine settling into your new home and just when you are about to be lulled to sleep, your next door neighbours decide it’s time to turn up the rock music – loudly. As the weeks go on, you find out that this is a nightly routine, not to mention their loud parties, cars coming and going at all times of the evening and many not leaving for days. So what’s a person to do? First, try having a friendly conversation with them. Having a good rapport is often the best way in handling neighbourhood problems. However, a good rule of thumb for all prospective buyers, is before you agree to purchase a home, talk to other residents if red flags seem to pop up. Also, drive by the neighbourhood in the evening to see if anything seems out of the ordinary. Having difficult next-door-neighbours can quickly take the fun out of enjoying your new home.
6. Appalling Agents:
The last thing a buyer or seller wants to have is an awful agent; one that just clocks in when needed and doesn’t take their job seriously. While most agents are professional, there are always those that can be a nightmare. An agent who just is appalling, cannot only cost their client valuable time, but they can also cost them a tremendous amount of money. For those that don’t market a home successfully, take their time returning phone calls, and generally unresponsive, those are dollar signs flashing. So always get recommendations from family and friends and research your candidates on the Internet. Make sure you interview at least three agents and be leery of anyone that makes promises that sound too good to be true. By selecting an agent that has a proven track record, can back up their numbers with comparable sales from your neighbourhood, understands your community, has a strong online presence and comes highly recommended, chances are, you will be comfortable working with them.
7. Closing Heart Wrenching Surprises
Finally, our Halloween inspired article would not be complete without a heart wrenching ending – by which we mean your home closing for your Windsor property. Imagine getting to your closing, and the financial information has changed, such as closing costs have increased, your mortgage payments are higher than expected. Our tip: If you find yourself sitting with a pen in hand staring at the new figures, have your agent and mortgage institution determine if there has been some mistake. There could always be a typo or math error. Stay calm, as this is not so uncommon. Review the paperwork line by line to determine where you can cost costs if needed.