“Does Buying Really Make Better Sense than Renting?”

Surprisingly, money shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey shows that 4 of the biggest reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with finances: So the reasons that would make you consider buying a home are probably your answer.

  • They want a place to raise and educate their children
  • They want a place their family will feel safe
  • They want plenty of living space
  • They want to have control over their space

“Do I really need a new survey on the property I’m buying?”

A lot of buyers want to avoid the cost of a survey which can range from $500 for a lot to $4500 for 30 acres. Like a Home Inspection though, this is money well spent. Surveys show the dimensions of the lot, location of the home and driveway, building setback lines, recorded easements affecting the property, encroachments on the property, and access to a public or private road and bodies of water that may exist. If you plan to put up a fence, build a barn, etc., you need to know where the property lines are. In addition, most lenders require Title Insurance – and Title Insurance companies won’t insure an old survey. NC Society of Surveyors has a ‘facts you should know’ brochure that contains some good information.

“What’s an easement?”

Folks around here say, “If you want a good neighbor – get a good easement.” An easement is given by an owner of land to another person for a special purpose – like the right to cross the land. If you’re buying land in the country – get out and walk the land, looking for tracks or trails and ask the question. Often land is sold with no road frontage but an easement has been recorded that will allow access. I would seek advice if someone says to you, “Well, Mr. Smith has always just let us cross his land – we don’t have anything in writing.” What happens when Mr. Smith dies and suddenly his kids won’t uphold his handshake deal? Get it surveyed, get it recorded. FindLaw.com has a wealth of information about the topic.

“We’ve never had well water before – is it safe?”

We recommend to our clients that they get the well water checked before buying, especially when the home has been sitting vacant for awhile. A water test can be done through your home inspector or the county can come out and get a sample. They test for coliform bacteria, and anything else of local concern. In addition you should:

  • Find out the gallons per minute / well depth
  • Check well pump motor performance (amp load, grounding and line voltage) pressure tank and pressure switch contact
  • Inspect well equipment to assure that it is sanitary and meets local requirements
  • Tests could include nitrates, iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides

Wellowner.org is a great resource for everything you need to know about ground water and water wells.