There are more differences than you may think between Owner occupied and Investment owned homes. Below are the differences:
Owner occupied homes are better maintained; both inside and outside. Since they live in the home, there is an automatic pride of ownership. Time and money were invested to provide a quality of enjoyment while at the same time, gaining equity. Owner occupied homes will have higher property values and lower property taxes (Homestead exemption)
Investors will provide the basics to attract a qualified tenant. Tenants are temporary and will not invest in adding improvements. Most Tenants will avoid maintenance if they must pay for it. Tenants get by with the basics and in many instances, will do the minimum requirements to keep the property looking good. Investors are known to paint over water stains, as well as hiding cracked or uneven subfloors with new carpet. Always be cautious of freshly painted interiors. Investment properties will have lower property values and higher property taxes (Non-Homestead)
SELLER’S DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS
Owner occupied homes ARE required to fill out a Seller’s Disclosure Statement when listing and selling their home. The theory is, since the owner has occupied the property, he/she will be very knowledgeable to its current condition. It is highly encouraged for owners to complete the disclosure to prevent possible lawsuits after the sale of their home. Honesty is the key when filling out this disclosure, so make sure the information is accurate. ALL KNOWN DEFECTS MUST BE DISCLOSED or the Seller could be sued for not disclosing something that could negatively impact the value of the property.
Investors are NOT required to fill out a Seller’s Disclosure Statement; however, the same rules apply when it comes to hidden defects. ALL KNOWN DEFECTS MUST BE DISCLOSED. The Seller could be sued for not disclosing something that could negatively impact the value of the property.
Your Realtor® will be able to help determine if a home has been used as an Investment property. Be aware of recent renovations (fresh paint, new carpet) as these could be covering up hidden defects. Ask for a maintenance report from the owner on A/C units. Hire a Licensed Home Inspector with infra-red equipment to see behind the walls for moisture/mold. It may be necessary to hire additional trades to inspect the house; such as a Roofing company, A/C company, Pool maintenance company, to obtain a a report of life expectancy for the unit as well as an accurate estimate of replacement costs. Most of the time, these trades will be more than happy to provide you with a free estimate.
ONE FINAL PIECE OF ADVICE
Have your air ducts cleaned and sanitized before you move into your new home. Regardless of new construction or a pre-existing home, it is important to sanitize the air ducts to get rid of mold spores, pet dander, dust mites and other air borne toxins within the home.