Imagine shopping for your dream home in the Charlottesville area market in the springtime. It’s easy to get in an expectant frame of mind when all of the flowering dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom and it appears that Open House signs are dotting every street on the weekends.
You know that inventory is low because Match Day has happened at UVA Hospital, many people are arriving in town now to start jobs at UVA in the late summer or people are checking out the area for a possible late spring to summer move.
When you go to an open house, it’s crowded, and you get the feeling when you hear people talking around you that multiple offers will start flying in.
But, for you, you feel like this is it, you’ve found your dream home. It even has a beautiful green patch of vacant land behind the home for added privacy. The situation is tight, there isn’t time for a traditional inspection, and you don’t want to miss a fantastic opportunity.
This is the type of scenario in which intelligent decision making tends to fly out the window and one of the reasons having a Solutions agent on your side can be so valuable.
In this case, your Solutions agent will tell you to wait just a bit so they can check out the tax records – whether it be city or county. Only then can you find out what is going on around this dream home.
Will there be commercial buildings going up next door in that lot, will an industrial complex open up shop or will a hospital or other such building suddenly come on the city or county planning board rosters? Your Solutions agent will be able to find out and you’ll be saved from a potentially disastrous decision.
It’s not always easy to do the investigative research necessary on a property, especially when you don’t really want to find anything that will dissuade you from the path that this is your dream home. But this sort of story is not that uncommon. When you’re looking at your potential home, check out the neighborhood not just for what it is now, but what it could be. Some questions to ask include:
1) Is the area zoned for commercial or only residential use? What other types of properties are nearby? Are you too near UVA facilities or not close enough?
2) Are there any upcoming major development projects in the area?
3) You’ll also want to know what the restrictions are for remodeling, not just for your own projects but for what your new neighbors might do. Will an HOA’s restrictions curtail your remodeling ideas? Are there height restrictions or could your neighbor add a level that might block your light?
4) Have there been any environmental hazards such as chemical spills or contamination near the area you’re looking?
5) What are the local crime statistics? Have there been any incidents at houses nearby?
Your Solutions agent might suggest taking a drive through the neighborhood at different times of day or just stopping to eat lunch or have a coffee in the area to get a feel for what is going on. Sometimes you can start up a conversation with a resident and learn information about a neighborhood that your Solutions agent will not be able to tell you due to “Fair Housing” regulations.
It’s perfectly fine to get excited about finding your dream home, but it’s also wise to ask your Solutions agent for guidance if you’re not familiar with an area – you’ll be glad you did!