Buying Tips:

• If you’re buying a house strictly for financial reasons, look at each house you’re considering as you would evaluate a purchase of stocks or bonds.

• To buy a house as an investment, look for one that is selling for below the fair market value, because of special circumstances such as a divorce, a relocation, or a foreclosure.

• Don’t buy one of the first houses in a subdivision. The developer may go bust and be unable to complete the development.

• Check out the reputation of the builder by talking with people who live in some of the builder’s houses.

• Make any offer on a home contingent on its passing an inspection. The purchase also should be contingent on your ability to get financing at or below a set interest rate.

• Get an owner’s title insurance policy that covers you, not the lender, if your ownership is successfully challenged.

• Hire a real estate attorney to review the closing papers and, if you’re buying a house still under construction, to draft or review the purchase contract.

• Use a real estate agent who represents your financial interests, not the seller’s.

• Before you buy a house, try your commute to work during rush hour.

• Learn about the area surrounding a potential purchase, including the potential for new roads or new development.

• Look at a property while it’s raining to see how water flows across it. Look for signs of poor drainage and danger of flooding.

• Buy a house that’s fundamentally sound, in construction and materials, even if it doesn’t have the latest, greatest design features.