15 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home

15 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

You want to make sure the house you are looking at is “the one” before you put in an offer on the house. But there are so many different options. How do you choose the right house?

Research is key to finding the right home. 

You’ll need the right questions to ask. 

This will help you make an informed decision about whether you are making a fair offer on a home you can afford and that meets your long-term goals.

Here are 15 questions you should ask before buying a house.

How Much is My Total Budget?

Without understanding how much house you can afford, it could be a waste to begin looking at houses. Other than the sale price, other costs include homeowners insurance, property taxes, homeowners association dues, and ongoing home maintenance.

With all the additional expenses that come along with homeownership, such as repairs and homeowner’s associations’ fees, you might not see the financial benefits for many years.

If you want to make an offer, it is crucial to show the seller that you have the financial resources to purchase their house if you want your offer to get accepted. This requires getting preapproved for a mortgage.

It not only gives buyers an idea of their budget but also assures the Realtor that they are showing qualified buyers a home. It shows that you aren’t wasting the seller’s time.

Are You in Danger of Flooding or Other Natural Disasters?

Additional insurance coverage may be required for property that is located in a flood zone or natural disaster area. For example, homes that are located in a federally-designated, high-risk flood zone require flood insurance.

You may also need earthquake insurance if you buy a house in California, where earthquakes are frequent. Another tip is to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to cover the costs of rebuilding your home in case it is destroyed. If you are uninsured, you may be responsible for the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home in case of a major catastrophe.

Why Doesn’t the Seller Want the House?

It might be helpful to understand why the seller is moving, whether it’s because of downsizing, job relocation, or a major life event. This will help you determine how motivated they are for negotiations. 

Good agents will help you find this information and determine how flexible the seller is during negotiations. If a motivated seller is in a hurry to sell their home or has had it on the market for a while, they are more likely to be open to working with you.

What is Included in the Sale?

Usually, fixtures are included with the sale of the house. Think cabinets, faucets, and window blinds. You might think certain items are included in the home, but they may not be. It all depends on the laws in your state.

 Although the listing description should list any exclusions the seller will not include, this is not always true. Ask for details in your offer. Are you sure that you want the washer/dryer and stainless-steel fridge? Ask the seller if they will include these items in the deal.

Did You Make Any Major Renovations or Additions?

Sometimes, listing descriptions and property records don’t match. Although a home may advertise four bedrooms, one room could be an addition that isn’t in compliance with local building codes. 

Ask the seller about any major renovations or repairs they have made to the house since acquiring it. Also, request original manufacturer warranties for appliances and systems that have been replaced. You can assess the condition of a home and determine its asking price by knowing its history.

When Was the Roof Last Replaced?

Roofs are expensive and necessary. You’ll spend thousands of dollars on replacing a roof that is near the end of its life span. Ouch. 

Your lender might require that the roof be repaired if there is any damage. To put it another way, if the listing description does not list the roof’s age to save yourself the headache later.

What is the Age of Major Appliances and Systems?

Knowing the expected lifespan of appliances and systems such as the stove, air conditioner, furnace, and water heater can help you plan for major repairs or replacement costs. 

Ask the seller to buy a home warranty if these items are near the end of their useful life. This will cover replacement costs in certain cases.

How Long has the House Been Listed?

A house that has been on the market for a longer time will likely be more open to negotiations. You might be able to negotiate the price, contingencies, and terms and credit for replacing carpets or other visible issues.

A home that was priced too high from the beginning can languish on the marketplace. This could lead to multiple price reductions. A listing with multiple price reductions that has been on the market for too long may mean there is something wrong with the house. This gives you the opportunity to negotiate a deal.

What is the Average Price of Homes in this Neighborhood?

Knowing the market in your area will help you decide if the seller’s asking price is right. Your Realtor can provide comparable data from similar homes that have sold within the past six months to help you compare.

If conditions allow for further negotiation, consider (making a) lower offer or concessions such as asking the seller to cover some closing costs.

Do You See Any Safety or Health Hazards?

Lead paint, radon, and mold can all be expensive to fix, which could delay your loan approval. If there are any past problems, ask the seller for documentation and learn what was done. 

You might have to pay more for specialized services if you suspect dangerous problems or the home inspector recommends additional testing.

What is the History of Insurance Claims in the Past?

To see if homeowners have filed any claims in the past seven years, get a copy from the seller of the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (or C.L.U.E.). 

This report will give you an idea of the extent of damage to your home from vandalism or weather events that were not covered by a home inspection.

How are the Neighbors?

It can be hard to get a true sense of the neighborhood before you move in. However, this aspect should not be ignored. 

Ask the seller about the neighborhood. Noisy or quiet? Are there any pets allowed? Are neighbors friendly? These details should not be left to the seller alone. You might not get the whole story.

Drive through the neighborhood and stop to speak with neighbors. Neighbors can provide valuable information that sellers might not be willing to share with you.

What is the Neighborhood Like?

While you can always change or fix up a house, but the neighborhood will always be there. 

It is important to like the environment you will be living in for the next 10, 20, or 30 years. You can ask your Realtor for key information such as crime statistics, school ratings, and traffic patterns.

The internet is a great tool to research nearby schools, homeowner association rules, parks, and other amenities. Don’t forget about the time it takes to commute to work. This could be a big deal-breaker.

Is There Anything Wrong With the House?

Sellers must provide a disclosure form detailing any defects they know. However, what they don’t disclose or don’t tell you can cause major problems later. 

It is crucial to have a professional home inspector inspect your home as soon as you sign a purchase agreement.

An inspection report summarizes the property’s condition and can be used to negotiate any future concessions such as repairs or seller-paid credits before you close the deal. If the home is in unacceptable condition and you have included a home inspection clause, you can cancel the deal without penalty. In most cases, your earnest deposit will be returned.

How Much are Closing Costs?

The down payment isn’t the only thing you will be paying on closing day. You will also have to pay closing costs. 

These typically include third-party fees for title research and processing paperwork, as well as loan origination fees. Closing costs can range from 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price, but depending on your area, that can vary depending on where you live.

A lender must provide you with a closing disclosure three business days prior to closing. This will detail all fees associated with your loan and the amount of cash required for closing.

Once both parties have signed the closing documents and the escrow company sends it to the lender, the lender will fund the loan. 

Now, you are a homeowner.

If you are looking to become a homeowner in Northern Kentucky, Call the real estate agent Kentucky homebuyers trust, Amy Alwell!

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