10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Home
Buying a home comes with a lot of responsibility and if you’ve never done it before it can be a little bit stressful and scary. Even if you have purchased before and it’s been a while, this is a large investment and you don’t want to make a mistake. If you’re planning on buying a home here are 10 questions to ask so that you know more about the property, feel comfortable with your purchase, and enjoy your home long after you’ve signed those final documents.
#1. What is the home’s sale history?
It’s important to know how many times this property has changed hands over its lifetime. It’s also a good idea to know how much it has sold for each of those times. It will let you know about the properties value fluctuations to negotiate fairly in this sale and prepare you if you going to sell in the future. It also can throw up some red flags if the property has sold many times over the last 2 to 5 years.
#2. How much are the monthly utilities?
This is one of those hidden costs that many homeowners don’t realize, especially if they have rented a home where the landlord pays all the utilities. It’s important to know how much will be going out on top of the mortgage in heating and cooling, natural gas or propane, and any other utilities such as water, garbage, and sewer.
#3. How much is the property tax?
A home’s value is the primary determinant of the property tax so it’s important to understand how much you’ll be paying in property tax each year. You can ask your lender to fold this amount into your monthly mortgage payment so you don’t have a huge hit twice a year.
#4. Has the property been involved in any crimes?
When buying a home, buyers will receive a seller’s disclosure form stating any known information about the home as far as renovations or damage but you may also ask if there have been any unlawful or strange events that have happened in the house. While homeowners are not allowed to reveal if they think the home is hunted or not, you should be able to get a report about any unlawful behavior or events that have been recorded.
#5. Ask about the stability of the roof.
It’s important to know when the roof was last fixed or replaced. Roof replacements can cost easily over $10,000 and this is a huge expense you probably don’t want right out of the gate, so this is an important inquiry.
#6. Are there neighborhood restrictions?
If you are buying a home in a homeowners association there are bylaws and rules that come with that purchase such as parking restrictions, pet restrictions, continuity of the front yard, and many little details that you may not even consider until you buy the property. Ask for a copy of the CC & R’s so that you know exactly what’s required of you should you own a home in the neighborhood.
#7. Are there any warranties that come with the home?
Sellers may offer an incentive of a home warranty to get their property sold. This is a great option and one in which buyers can purchase as well. Having a home warranty means that if any kitchen appliance, garage door, or HVAC system goes down within the first year, the warranty will cover the replacement.
#8. Have there been any issues with the sewer pipes, electrical, or foundation?
The home inspector will check a lot of these issues ahead of time but it’s important to ask questions about the stability and integrity of the sewer lines, electrical lines, and foundation. These are costly repairs so it’s important to know how durable they are currently.
Related: Are Home Inspections Necessary?
#9. Have there been any past pest infestations?
Getting rid of insects or rodents can be costly and exhausting. It’s better to know now if there has ever been a problem then to spend hundreds of dollars after the fact.
#10. Have there been any renovations or additions to the property?
Again, the seller’s disclosure form should mention these renovations but just in case, ask if the homeowners have done any repairs or additions themselves that may or may not have been permitted work. Related: What Happens When the Inspection Shows Unpermitted Work?
We want you to love your home long after you finalize the sale and by asking these questions you can know more about the property, feel confident in your purchase, and love your home for years to come.
More Resources for Home Buyers