For those of you who are still considering investing in real estate as an option, you are not too late. There are tons of foreclosures and short sales out there in the market waiting to be picked up by you. However, do all your homework and research the area prior to putting any money down. A better option is take advantage of the education a realtor has, although don’t rely on a realtor 100%. You have to take matters in your own hands and do a detailed research on the property you are considering to buy. Some realtors have the habit of saying anything just to make a sale – beware of them. Also do a lot of research even while selecting a realtor. Explain to them what you are doing and what you want out of it, this will help them understand you better and even help you reach your goals.
Now on to looking at the potential properties, again beware most of the properties are usually left in an absolute horrible condition and it makes you wonder if humans actually inhabited the house. Other the previous home owners know they are about to lose the house and purposely damage everything inside so that the bank does not make any money. Although it is hard to ignore all the mess when you first walk into the house, the most important thing to do is to scan for any major damages. For example, look for mold or mildew spreading around the ceiling and the top part of the walls. This is an indication that there was or is a leak somewhere in the roof. Look for the same around window frames and sills; this will let you know where the water is coming from. Additionally look to see if water is collecting anywhere inside the house. This will be a clear warning sign that the house needs a lot of work.
While doing the initial walk through also look at all the walls superficially to make sure all the walls are in-tact. It is always good to carry a flashlight with you while looking at houses, that way if there are holes in the wall you can peer through them and see if the walls have a termite infestation which is another major problem to consider prior to buying the house. As you walk to the backyard or the back side of the house, look at the A/C unit that sits out back and see if you can make out if it is in working condition or try looking up the date on the machine itself. Again, remember there may or may not be power to the house so you cannot turn the A/C unit on to see if it is in working condition. Lastly, as you are exiting the house take a look at the roof from the outside and see if it is looking brand new or if it looks discolored. A good way to do that is to compare the roof’s color and texture with the neighbor’s roof. If you see a lot of peeling and tiles missing, understandably this will be another big expense.
Finally, this is not an exact science, and the amount of fixing up you are willing to do is really up to the budget you have set aside for renovation. If you have a small budget and the house you like has too many problems, move on and don’t get too attached to the house. The market is still recovering and there are still deals out there!