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You can find out by asking yourself some questions: Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable? Do I have a good record of paying my bills? Do I have few outstanding long-term debts, like car payments? Do I have money saved for a down payment? Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.
Start by thinking about your situation. Are you ready to buy a home? How much can you afford in a monthly mortgage payment (see Question 4 for help)? How much space do you need? What areas of town do you like? After you answer these questions, make a “To Do” list and start doing casual research. Talk to friends and family, drive through neighborhoods, and look in the “Homes” section of the newspaper.
The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing.
Your home should fit the way you live, with spaces and features that appeal to the whole family. Before you begin looking at homes, make a list of your priorities – things like location and size. Should the house be close to certain schools? your job? to public transportation? How large should the house be? What type of lot do you prefer? What kinds of amenities are you looking for? Establish a set of minimum requirements and a ‘wish list.” Minimum requirements are things that a house must have for you to consider it, while a “wish list” covers things that you’d like to have but aren’t essential.
Select a community that will allow you to best live your daily life. Many people choose communities based on schools. Do you want access to shopping and public transportation? Is access to local facilities like libraries and museums important to you? Or do you prefer the peace and quiet of a rural community? When you find places that you like, talk to people that live there. They know the most about the area and will be your future neighbors. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable in.
You can get information about school systems by contacting the city or county school board or the local schools. Your real estate agent may also be knowledgeable about schools in the area.
Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You may also want to visit the local library. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources, and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of your questions.
The total amount of the previous year’s property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it’s not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor’s office. Tax rates can change from year to year, so these figures may be approximate.
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof, HVAC, appliances, carpet)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller’s or real estate agent’s answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they’ve given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive. The HUD Home Scorecard can help you develop your question list.
There isn’t a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, homebuyers examine 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you’re looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.
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Hibiscus Homes covers all defects in materials and workmanship as defined in the Construction Performance Guidelines in Section IX.
All your appliances are covered through the manufacturer. If a problem arise with one of your appliances, you will have to contact the manufacturer of the appliances.
Irrigation should be set to your county’s regulations. When your home is closed we set your irrigation timer.
You should first check the Red Reset button by pressing it in. If that doesn’t work, you should try using the allen wrench key that came with your garbage disposal.
You should replace your air filters regularly to prevent unit from malfunctioning. A good rule of thumb is to change it once a month.
Check your smoke detectors by pressing “test” once every month. Replace the back up batteries when the units start signals “chirping”.
Time and weather will shrink caulking and dry it out, so it no longer provides a good seal against moisture and air infiltration. As a routine maintenance it wise to check the caulking and make repairs as needed. You should always make a point of checking before the summer showers start.
The range hood fan filters collect grease and should be cleaned regularly. Soaking the filters or lightly brushing them in hot soapy water is the best cleaning method. Be sure that the filters are DRY before putting reinstalling them.
You should never pour grease down any drains in your home. Every month you should run hot water down the drain to clean it out. Also keep them free from hair.