INDIANA — Building a home can be an exciting time for you and your family. Asking the right questions before signing any documents is essential to finding the perfect home. Do your research first and avoid falling victim to home building scams.
Taking the steps below will help you feel better about your new home and ensure that it meets the standards you expect.
1. Hire your own inspector. Find an inspector that has a good reputation and who will conduct a thorough inspection. Any offer or contract should be contingent upon (or subject to) a whole-house inspection with a satisfactory report. Get a right-to-inspect in your initial purchase agreement. Consumers using a home builder may use the inspectors, mortgage company or title company of their choice.
2. Research your area’s building codes. Research your area’s building codes and certificate of occupancy requirements (remember, some municipalities do not require an inspection prior to move in). Most new homes must also receive a certificate of occupancy. Request to see your certificate. You can also find the certificate at the city inspector’s office.
3. Decide on a mortgage that fits your needs. Consider different types of mortgages available to Indiana residents. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Lenders have different rates and percentages for adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) and fixed-rate mortgages. If the rate per month sounds low, the lender may expect the consumer to pay higher closing costs and/or points before negotiations are signed and delivered.
4. Do a final walk-through. The walk-through is usually conducted just prior to finalizing your home purchase with the builder. This is a time when you have the opportunity to closely scrutinize the home. You should be observant, carefully examining all surfaces, fixtures, floors and walls for possible damage. During this walk-through, you should write down a checklist of all the items that need repair before you move in. Do not agree to close until all items on the checklist have been corrected unless you are willing to do them yourself. Keep a copy of the checklist for yourself.
If you feel you have been a victim to home building scams, please contact your local homebuilders association and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.