Before sealing the deal when buying a new house, you might want to be sure it’s the best for your needs. However, with the countless options available in the market, how can you find the perfect home?
Finding a new home, whether for yourself or your family, involves research. With this in mind, you need to ask various questions related to the property. This way, you know you’re making a good deal on a house that you can afford and meets your long-term unique needs.
Below are some of the questions to ask before purchasing a new home:
1. What Major Renovations Or Additions Have Been Completed?
County or city records and listings aren’t always accurate, especially if the homeowners have done the job without the necessary permits and approvals. For this reason, make sure to ask for documentation outlining the different home improvements completed before to ensure they’re up to code.
For example, if the previous owner has encountered major plumbing issues and decided to install a new plumbing system, ensure that it’s inspected by a local plumbing company. This way, you’ll avoid getting the hook for any violations found later on.
2. Is The Home Prone To Natural Disasters Or In A Flood Zone?
Any property located in a flood zone or areas prone to natural disasters may require additional insurance policies. For example, houses located in a high-risk and federally-designated flood zone often require flood insurance.
You can check the Flood Map Service of your state to know whether the property is located in a flood zone. This will also let you know whether to update your plumbing in the future to avoid possible water damage.
3. What’s Included In The Home Sale?
Anything attached to the property such as water heaters, faucets, and cabinets, are typically included when you purchase a house. However, some appliances may not be included in the purchase.
This is why it’s essential to be clear and read the purchase and sale agreement when buying your dream home. It’s because this will let you know whether the dryers and washers, outdoor play structures, and non-attached items are included in the sale. If there’s something you like that sellers haven’t initially included such as outdoor furniture or pool table, don’t hesitate to ask.
4. How Much Do You Need To Pay For Closing Costs?
The down payment isn’t the only cost you’ll be forking over on the closing day. You’ll also need to know the closing costs, which usually include third-party fees and loan origination fees for appraisal, processing of paperwork, and title research.
More often than not, expect to pay around two percent to five percent of the purchase price in closing costs. However, the cost may vary depending on your area.
5. How Old Is The Roof?
Roofs are undoubtedly expensive and necessary, regardless of the property you’re looking for. If the roof is old and may require a new replacement, you need to spend thousands of dollars.
If the roof has existing damage, your lender may require you to get it fixed before you get loan approval. In short, if the listing description doesn’t list the roof’s lifespan, it’s wise to find it out immediately to prevent a costly headache over time.
6. What’s The Cost Of Utilities?
The ongoing cost of living in your new home is as crucial as your mortgage payments. If you look at a house, ensure that you get a sense of what your monthly utilities may cost.
Depending on how the property is set up and where you live, these may add a certain amount to your bills. Typically, real estate agents will provide you with an estimate of the overall price. But make sure to ask other qualitative questions like whether the heater is gas-operated. The reason behind it is that you may spend more on the heat if the system is electric instead of gas.
7. How Long Has The Property Been On The Market?
You may often find some details about this on the listings. There are also real estate agents who can provide you with the most exact date.
For others, houses that have been on the market for a long time are a red flag since there might be something wrong with the property. Although it’s not always the case, a long listing can be an advantage. Sellers are more likely to negotiate the longer they’ve been waiting to make the sale. Therefore, you might get the property for less than asking.
8. How Old Are The Major Systems And Appliances?
Understanding the lifespan of appliances and essential systems such as stoves, water heaters, air conditioners, and washers may help you determine whether it’s worth it to buy your preferred home. This can also help you know if you need replacement or major repair in the future. If those items are very old, ask the seller to buy a home warranty. This may help cover the replacement costs of the home appliances and systems in some instances.
9. How Much Do Properties Sell For In The Area?
Ask real estate agents how much other houses in the neighborhood are sold for. This way, you’ll know if the house is priced appropriately. You must also try to determine how much the property is sold for in the past. If the seller wants to make a big profit based on the asking price, you’ll need to negotiate.
10. Are There Any Safety Or Health Hazards?
Items such as mold, radon, lead paint, and some major hazards can be expensive to address and may hold up your loan approval. So, ask the seller to provide documentation if there are previous issues and determine what was done to fix such problems. If you think there are hazardous issues with the property or you want additional testing from a home inspector, you may need to pay extra for specialized services.
These questions are an exceptional resource to know whether a home is suited for your budget and needs. If possible, always bring a checklist before meeting with your realtor or viewing the property. Then, be sure to get answers to those questions before you start negotiating. This won’t only save your time, but it’ll also help you save money in the long run.