What Questions to Ask When Buying a Home in the South Bay?

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You found a house in the Rocksprings neighborhood that you thought would be a perfect fit for you and your family. The house was spacious, your wife loved the kitchen set up, and you can certainly see your kids running around the sizable living room with your pet dog Bailey.

Without giving the transaction much thought, you decided to buy the house.

As you moved in, everything looked fine and dandy. Everything was as you imagined it to be. You are now a happy camper.

However, just a week after you moved in, a storm came, so it rained cats and dogs in your area.

To your surprise, your place was flooded in an instant. Also, because the water level was so high, to the tune of 4 feet, you can see your car and your appliances almost getting swallowed by the makeshift swimming pool in your house that the flood caused.

* Sigh *

“I should’ve checked if the area is prone to flood before I even bought the house.” You say to yourself.

At this point, since you already bought the house, then you have no choice but to live with the decision that you made.

Friends, if you do not want to make a disastrous decision of buying a home in South Bay that you will surely regret, then you need to give the house a closer look first. Allow me to share with you eight crucial questions that you need to ask before buying a home in South Bay.

 

1. Are there any infestations of termites, carpenter ants, or other pests?

Almost any type of pest infestation can quickly become a major headache for homeowners if left unchecked.

Be sure to investigate the history of the home for previous infestations. Even if the home seller tells you that the previous infestation problem has been fixed, you still need to do your due diligence in checking the to ensure that such is the case.

If the previous owners have pest exterminations done in the past, then make sure that the cause of the infestation was also addressed. Any slow leaks and rotting wood could potentially attract all kinds of insects. The problem could also be neighborhood wide.

A pest extermination treatment can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 or more depending on the severity and the size of the infestation. Wood repairs are much more expensive.

 

2. Were there any major renovations or additions?

Did the previous owner renovate the basement? Did they turn the attic into a bedroom? Or the living room into a kitchen (or vice-versa)? While these changes might seem something out of the norm, it is still important for you to know of these changes.

Changes in structural integrity, as well as electricity and plumbing changes, play a big part in the overall longevity of a home. In fact, you would need to consider these things should you decide to make future renovations.

As an example, you would want to know if the previous owner ran the drainage across the living room just because they wanted the kitchen on the other side of the house.

The renovations will also give you a good idea of how much money they have poured into their home and how much they hope to get out of it. It is worth noting that most people do not expect to get as much as they spent on renovations. Depending on the kind of renovation that’s done, renovations usually retain around 60% of their value at most.

 

3. Is the home in a flood-prone area?

Living in a flood-prone area can affect the cost of living of the homeowner. A flood-prone home usually requires flood insurance which leads to added costs, not to mention the risk of the flood itself and the damages that usually results from it.

There are free online maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA that show if an area is flood-prone or not.

If the prospective house that you want to purchase is in a flood-prone area, then you will need to assess the risks that come with buying the house. You will also have to factor in how much the flood insurance will cost among other things.

 

4. How old is the roof?

A new roof can cost about $7,000 and can last around 15 to 20 years. Of course, you would want to avoid spending for that amount during the first five years of your stay in your new home.

Hence, knowing when the roof was last replaced and the kind of roof that was used can help you avoid unnecessary roofing-related expenses.

 

5. Has there ever been a broken pipe or sewer backup?

Nobody wants to deal with a broken sewage pipe, much less a sewer backup. Sewer backups cause significant damages when they happen and are not only expensive to repair, but are also huge health hazards.

Though trees and plants are often the leading causes of broken sewage lines, the homeowner’s neglect also plays a big part in it. Planting trees with wide-spreading roots, or flushing too many wet wipes down the toilet will sooner or later leave you with a big and expensive mess.

Remember to clear your pipes regularly every two years. It may sound a little costly, but it has the potential to save you a lot of trouble (and money) in the future.

 

6. Is the property close to multiple shuttle bus stops?

There is a reason why many house listings in the SF Bay Area would highlight the fact that they are near multiple shuttle bus stops — that is because the tech shuttles have a lot of value to bring to the table.

When you have shuttle bus stops near your area, you can benefit from faster end-to-end journeys, an economical way of traveling, and a better use of your personal time (among other benefits).

 

7. What kind of foundation does the house have?

Houses usually have two types of foundations: the raised foundation or the slab foundation. Both have their pros and cons, and it is up to you to choose which one you would prefer.

Older houses are often built on raised foundations, while slab foundations are more common with newer homes.

If the home is in a flood-prone area, a raised home will make a lot of sense since it gives an extra buffer for flood water before getting into a house. A raised house also provides a crawl space that allows access to utility lines and AC ducts. However, since it is often a dark and a damp place, it can also become a breeding ground for spiders, snakes, roaches and the like.

A slab foundation, on the other hand, is cheaper to build and makes it less expensive to heat or cool a house. Also, if a termite or other pest infestations are a problem in the area, a slab foundation helps prevent them from getting in the house.

 

8. Does the home have an interesting history?

Is the house haunted? Did a major crime happen within the vicinity of the house?

The home buyers can leverage on a house’s history when negotiating for a better price.

For example, if a house is haunted, then the house is what real estate agents would call a “stigmatized house.” A stigmatized house usually sells up to 25% below the market value.

That means the home buyer will have a better bargaining power.

 

What’s next?

Are you looking for a new home in the South Bay area? If you answered with a “yes,” then you need to find a good real estate agent right now. A seasoned real estate agent can create a negotiation strategy for you, give you crucial market condition information, and even do the research for you, so you will have better neighborhood knowledge (among other things) — all of which are critical when it comes to helping you find your ideal home.

Reach out to us using this contact page now.

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