Buying your first home on Long Island is exciting for any Long Islander. If you want, you can spend hours watching cable channels dedicated to house-hunting and home renovations. You may have a checklist of non-negotiables, such as a minimum of three bedrooms and a closed-in yard. But just as important as knowing what you want in a home, it’s also important to recognize any warning signs that could turn your dream home into a living nightmare.
There are red flags you should take into account as you embark on your search. Some are blatant while others are hidden. Either way, you’ll likely miss them if you’re not paying close attention.
Here are a few warning signs to watch out for when buying your first home on Long Island:
- 1. Watermarks: Some areas are prone to flooding. Look for any watermarks on the walls, especially if the house has a basement.
- 2. Poorly Kept Homes in the Neighborhood: You won’t just be living in the house, you’ll be taking up residence in the neighborhood. So, take a look at the surrounding area as well. The house for sale may be well-maintained, but that may not be the case with others nearby. Similarly, it’s not a good sign if there are any abandoned homes either.
- 3. Top of Your Budget: You don’t want to put an offer on a home and later realize you cannot afford it. Other costs should be considered when the house you want is at the top-end of your budget range. You might be able to get the price lowered when you negotiate with the sellers, but don’t forget about additional expenses like home-inspection and appraisal fees, not to mention your moving and closing costs. With the help of a reliable mortgage lender, you can determine what price you must not exceed. What’s more, you can learn about some first-time home-buyer programs that could extend the reach of your budget.
- 4. Outdated Heating and Cooling Systems: Replacing this equipment can be a costly expense, so ask the sellers about the age and condition of their heating and cooling systems before it’s too late.
- 5. Taxes Out of Your Price Range: Even if you can afford a house in a certain area, make sure you know what the taxes are because they may be much higher than you anticipated. This is why working with a Long Island realtor is beneficial. Your realtor is the best person who can tell you about the neighborhood’s taxes, school district and other important information.
- 6. Signs of Neglect: We’re not talking about a kitchen stuck in the ’70s, but rather, cracks in the foundation or faulty wiring—these problems must be addressed right away. Signs that the current owners didn’t put much effort into the basic upkeep of the house should make you wonder what other repairs they didn’t do. This house may not be safe.