• Insurance buyers beware alot of policies give you coverage on page 1 and take it back in the fine print so read the policy before you buy one and make sure it really covers everything it implies it does. A industry trick is to exclude failure due to rust or corrosion which excludes all systems that are more than a few years old.

    A better way to make sure the house is in good shape is to hire an independant inspector to look at the house and report his findings to you and the owner/agent. Then ask the owner/builder to cover all major systems for the first year. (5 years to 10 years on a new home). Another way to eliminate this type of problem is to ask for an allowence for carpeting/ flooring, kitchen appliances including washer and dryer if included with home, and the HVAC and water tank. While looking at the house ask simple questions about the age of the units/fixtures, roof age and last time it was painted and treated for critters. Ask for proof of these items as well if possible.

    The old addage of buyer beware still holds true as not everyone is gonna be upfront with some of these issues. Also ask for a utility cost history and tax statements so you will know what these costs were for at least the last 12 months.

    If the hot water tank is more than 5 years old or shows signs of leaking and the HVAC is more than 10 years old depending on how it was maintained these could be areas of concern and should be considered when putting in an offer.

    Lastly look at 100 houses before you by one. Don't buy the first house you look at unless it is after looking at many others and still tops your list of likes and dislikes. Remember for the next year or two it will be a BUYERS market use this fact to your advantage when buying your next "DREAM HOME " and you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home buying.

    May 14, 2010 at 7:52 p.m.