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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Five questions homebuyers need to ask

You've found the house you love, had it inspected, and are now ready to go to closing. But to help ensure your decision, real estate professionals say that buyers need to add the following items to their checklist:

1. How's the noise? Agents recommend that buyers check the noise level surrounding the home at various times of day and days of the week, such as the weekday versus the weekend. For example, is the home in a flight path or on an ambulance or fire truck route?

2. Are there any easements or encroachments on the property? Check the preliminary title report carefully. An easement will allow others to use a portion of your property for a specific purpose. A land survey will reveal property lines, any easements, or encroachments-such as from a garage or fence-from neighbors either intentionally or unintentionally invading the property line.

3. Is the house up to code? Ensure that the home's previous owners did not fail to get a permit for any major renovation project. It'll become the buyer's responsibility otherwise.

4. What are the school, park, and police districts? School district boundaries can affect the home's resale value and marketability so they're important to note, even if the buyer doesn't have children. Also, real estate professionals say it's important to determine whether a home lies within the local park district or not. "The upside of living in it: You pay in-district fees for fitness classes. The downside: Your tax bill might be higher," The Chicago Tribune reported. "The same goes for library and community college districts. In-district library cards are free and tuition is less, but you are likely to pay steeper taxes."

5. What are the local rules? Even when the buyers move in, they'll still have to abide by city and county rules. Buyers should check with any rules by their homeowner association, if applicable, beforehand too. If you're in the trade business and your van has your company name on it, you may not be able to park it in front of the home because it is considered business signage.

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