Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 4/12/2018

House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.

Fortunately, in today’s digital world, it’s possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on researching the homes you’re thinking about making an offer on. We’ll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.

Putting together all the stats on the home

Let’s start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are you’re already on this page. However, there’s a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the home’s description.

Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.

Once you’ve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessor’s website to look at records of the home’s ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. There’s much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.

Snooping around the neighborhood

If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.

However, it isn’t always practical to take the time to visit a house that you aren’t sure you’re interested in. So, what’s the next best thing? Google Maps.

Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see what’s in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.

Next, use Google’s “street view” feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.

Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.

If you’re having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 2/25/2016

When searching for your dream house a lot of emphasis is typically placed on the location, size, and style of the house; ensuring everything you desire is perfectly in place.  When buying a home you can't let your emotions cloud your sense of reason.  You need to carefully examine all factors closely and perform the due diligence necessary to ensure you are making the right decision. Read Through Recent Newspapers and Archived Articles: Local news papers and other publications are a great resource for the most current information.  Archived news articles on the other hand may alert you to past issues or on going controversy in the area.  A little extra time spent reading will pay off in a long run when compiling your pros and cons list. Talk To The neighbors: The residents of the neighborhood are the best source of first hand information.  Getting a feel for the neighborhood's demographic will help determine if it is the correct environment for your family. Confirm there is a neighborhood association or alternative platform to discuss the welfare of the neighborhood. Get Details On Recent Home Improvements: Home inspections will provide you with information on where improvements may be needed.  Determining the quality of the improvements that have already been completed is also important.  Ask to review receipts from previous renovations to help gauge the quality of the materials used and the longevity of the improvement.  For example, if the house was painted a year ago, and the receipt reveals a lesser quality paint was used, you can expect to re-paint in a year or so. Review Tax Records: A review of the past and present real estate tax records will provide you with a better understanding of the area's tax rate, and property evaluation.  It's good to know how regularly homes are evaluated and how often property taxes are increased. There is so much to consider when buying a home.  Be certain to take all factors into consideration when making your decision.