Buyer Beware

The first rule of real estate- “buyer beware“!  Home buyers around greater Cincinnati are fairly predictable most of the time.  Their brains are focused on price, # bedrooms and bathrooms, school district (maybe), neighborhoods, age and of course- amenities.

Home buyers in CincinnatiHGTV over emphasizes the importance of granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances and bamboo floors.  Maybe they should also point out that buyers  research  additional details too.

Rule #1- What you see isn’t always what you’re buying.  Today’s buyers need to look beyond the boundaries of the backyard to ensure the surrounding neighbors and neighborhood supports your dream lifestyle.  Think about adding a few things to your real estate checklist:

  • Zoning– what can and what can’t you do once you move in (or can your neighbor build a 20 foot storage barn for you to stare at every day)?
    • Are above ground or in-ground pools allowed, backyard gyms, broken cars and trailers parked on grass or parked outside at all, basketball hoops, type and height of fences and more.  Just because the neighbor has an  above ground pool- doesn’t guarantee you permission to do the same.
    • Also many areas have covenants which may be slightly more restrictive than zoning codes….and many area have little or no way to enforce covenants….until somebody decides they don’t like your new fence and files a lawsuit.
    •  Some neighborhoods allow only wood/brick on the exteriors which may mean continued upkeep and expense for you.
    • Finally don’t assume zoning is for single family homes only-over the years many of us have discovered unique zoning codes in our neighborhoods.
  • Crime Statistics– call the local police/sheriff  department to verify the facts for yourself.
  • Neighborhood Planning– what’s on the books or in the plans for the future?
    • Check with the local zoning boards.
    • Are there plans for commercial, residential or light industrial on the books and is it close enough to have a direct impact.
    • Before you sign on the dotted line find out if the empty field at the end of the block could become home to condos, apartments or a gas station.

It’s best for buyers to do their own research to get answers to all their questions directly from the proper sources.  Make sure to keep the contact information for everybody -in case you have questions or problems later on.

Today’s home and condo buyers have a lot to handle when it comes to inspections, radon, mortgages, title insurance and home owner’s insurance-but  don’t forget to take a few extra moments to verify neighborhood information too! Call/Txt