When someone is buying a property from you, your instinct will be to find out more about them. After all, you have to trust that they will follow through on their commitments. If they have a history of bad credit, for example, you may want to give them a wide berth.
However, what about when you’re the buyer? Many people think that they don’t need to make much effort to find out more about the people they’re purchasing from. What is the worst that can happen? They don’t owe you any money.
But the truth is that you need to do a background check on the current owners. There are a number of reasons to use those services.
Bad credit can give you clues
Usually, you woudn’t think to worry about someone’s bad credit if you’re the one buying something from them. Chances are, you’re getting a bargain precisely because they have had money problems. But when you’re dealing with homeowners, you should do some investigating into exactly why they had bad credit.
You see, in all too many cases, the person’s bad credit has more to do with the house than you’d expect. If they were constantly late on their electricity bills or missed them completely sometimes, find out why. It could be that the house has some structural problems that end up requiring its residents to use far more electricity than the average. An issue like this could even be the reason its owners are selling – not because they need to downsize, but because they need a property that is cheaper to maintain.
The same can obviously be true with water rates. Check in particular if they have had trouble with only one thing, or whether their credit troubles are wider spread.
You don’t want nasty surprises
It might sound like a cliche from a thriller, but some people really do leave their terrible mark on a property. There have been far too many cases of people making horrific discoveries after moving into a place. Whether that discovery was something minor, like some illegal plants growing in the backyard, or something far worse, you don’t want to be associated with anything criminal on your property.
Furthermore, it is important to check on any criminal history for your own safety reasons. The person selling you the property knows everything about the property. They have everything they need to commit an all-too-easy break-in somewhere down the line. They’re obviously not going to do it right away, but if they have a significant criminal history, at least be a little wary.
Finally, find out if the seller has a particularly poor reputation. Sex offenders, for example, are sometimes required to inform neighbors and surrounding institutions about their past. You don’t want to find out months after you’ve moved in that people still think a sex offender is living on the property.
Your reputation may not suffer, but you can find yourself the victim of vandalism or eggings from people who don’t know the property has changed hands.