When moving into a "new" home there are many uncertainties, many of which cannot be realized until paperwork has been signed and the move is complete. Nobody knows you and your preferences better than you do. It is imperative that each buyer takes the time to do their own due diligence. How does one do their own due diligence properly? No checklist would ever be comprehensive enough to cover all properties and situations, but I do have a few techniques that have really helped me over the years. Everyone has their own personal preferences in terms of neighborhoods, homes and features. These suggestions are simply meant to allow you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. I will not be discussing title reports or professional inspections like home inspections, well tests, septic inspections, sewer scopes, etc. What I will be discussing is things anyone can do to help make sure that they are making the best decision for their own preferences.
The first thing I like to do once I see a property online that I want to tour is load up my dogs and take them for a walk in the neighborhood around the property. If you are one of the dozens of people in Bend that does not have a K-9 companion, don't panic, you can just go for a walk in the neighborhood all the same. Why not drive? Walking allows me to take my time and move slowly; I can notice things that I would have missed if I was driving. I like to walk my dogs at various times too, like once in the morning, once in the evening, maybe a weekend, if possible, too. If you only go by mid-day, you may not get to see that parking becomes an issue in the evenings when most folks return home from work. This is just one example; it only takes me a few minutes to do and can really aid me in getting a feel for an area. One thing you can do from the car is give yourself a "test commute." Assuming you don't work from home, after work, drive to your prospective house and see what the commute is like.
Pull up a zoning map. I will write that again: PULL UP A ZONING MAP. Here is Bend's: (bendoregon.gov/home/showdocument?id=3296)
Make sure you understand what your zoning allows and what it prohibits. Take notice of what types of zoning are near your home/neighborhood. Empty lots or fields may not always remain there. Taking a few minutes to further educate yourself about an area or neighborhood's zoning is time well spent and can be done from your couch or kitchen table. Another easy thing one can do is to review any applicable HOA rules or CC&Rs. Western Title makes it super easy: westerntitle.com/ccr. Just select the county and subdivision name, and you can review them on the spot. That way you can quickly and efficiently determine if what you would like to do is allowed in the specific neighborhood, along with a host of other great information.
I'm a big fan of keeping it simple, and that is the intention here: Invest some time inspecting an area or neighborhood; you will learn a lot, I promise! There is a wealth of information online about zoning, and CC&Rs, so take the time to review and understand these items. Most importantly, ask questions of your real estate agent, escrow officers and inspectors as well.