When purchasing property, doing your due diligence is more than a turn of phrase. The period when a house is under contract is an essential part of the homebuying process and requires careful attention to detail.
The due diligence process is the buyer's opportunity to review all facets of a potential home sale. From home inspection findings to homeowner insurance costs, it's when you'll take the time to understand exactly what you're potentially buying.
Here are a few due diligence do's and don'ts to consider:
Do find out how long it lasts. Two weeks is fairly standard for the average due diligence process. However, shorter periods may be negotiated to gain a competitive edge in a seller's market.
Don't make assumptions about when it begins. In some cases, due diligence is conducted before a property goes under contract. In others, it begins after the contract is signed.
Do consult an insurance agent. Floodplain and fire-prone areas may require additional coverage. Make sure you know the estimated costs and what a new homeowners insurance policy will cover.
Don't skim the home inspection. Make sure you're familiar with every line of the report. You may want to get quotes from contractors or negotiate repair costs into your offer.
Do your research. Review neighborhood characteristics and check the area's crime rates. Look at zoning laws to ensure they align with your long-term goals.
Don't forget to review the HOA. If you're joining a homeowners association, it's not enough to simply read your HOA documents. Make sure the community is in good physical condition and the association is financially sound.
Being thorough in the due diligence phase will help you uncover potential issues and make the right choices for you and your family.