Buying a house is one of the most important decisions you make because it is probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever do in your life. Before you buy a property, it is practical to have a thorough investigation of the place. There are a lot of important areas to look at and if you’re not prepared, well brace yourself for a headache or worse spending tons of money just on repairs. How do you protect yourself from this worst scenario? Simple. Just ask the right questions. In that way, you’ll be able to make sure you get the house that you want and need.
1. What is the neighbourhood like?There are a couple of questions you might want to ask the seller or even better, the local neighbours. What are the local amenities? What are the schools like? What is the crime rate? How’s the traffic like during busy hours? Is it a noisy neighbourhood? Is the place well-maintained? You can also do your research about the area for additional information regarding its parks, shops, restaurants, and public transport. What’s important is that you’ll be able to see yourself living in the neighbourhood for the next 10 or more years. After all, you can renovate your house anytime but you cannot change your neighbourhood.
2. Is the home located in a high-risk flood zone or natural disaster area?This is one thing you should not forget to ask. The weather is something you have little control about and it can cost a lot of damage to your property. If the home is located in a flood-prone area, then it is a good idea to get flood insurance. If it’s an area that often gets hurricane warnings, earthquakes, snowstorms or even wildfires, then protect yourself by getting home insurance that will cover most of these hazards.
3. Are there health or safety hazards in the home?Older homes are more likely to have molds and other more dangerous materials such as asbestos, radon, or lead paint. Homes built in the 70’s mostly used asbestos for its building products such as steam pipes, floor tiles, or wall materials while the use of lead-based paint was a thing back then but most likely covered now under layers of newer paint. Issues like these are likely to be noticed during a home inspection and might require specialized services. If unresolved, it can even cause a delay in the approval of your home loan.
4. Did the home go through major renovations?Try to see if the home had gone through major repairs and renovations and if it was done by a licensed contractor. Bad renovations and poor construction could cost you a lot of money and pose a risk to your safety. If possible, you might want to ask the seller for a copy of the building permit for the renovations done on the home. If no permit was secured, you might end up being the one to secure a permit and meet the current house standards which could be very costly on your part.
5. Are there problems with the house?You might also want to ask the seller if there were previous problems in some areas of the home such as electricity, water pressure, and plumbing. It might be just a little thing at first glance but can easily pile up into massive repair costs. Sellers are required to give a disclosure statement to inform buyers about the condition of the house. The disclosure typically includes defects in major appliances, property disputes, etc. However, some other problems not required to be mentioned in the disclosure might be existing that is why it is important to ask the seller directly.
6. How old are the home appliances and other major systems?The major systems and appliances typically found in a home are water heater, air conditioner, furnace, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and stove. If you ask the seller how old these are, you can estimate if these appliances are nearing the end of its lifespan which would mean replacement costs. In this case, you might consider getting a home warranty that would help cover these costs or try to work out a nice deal with the seller. If any of these appliances or systems were recently replaced, make sure to ask for the original manufacturer warranties from the seller.
7. How long did the previous owners live in the home?There are many possible reasons why people move or relocate to another home. However, it can be a warning sign if the property had many different owners in a relatively short time. This might indicate that there is something off-putting with the property, maybe bad neighbours or a dull neighbourhood? Maybe some other problems are only noticeable after staying for some time? No property is perfect, there might be issues or conditions you are not okay with.
8. How long has the home been on the market?There are two advantages to asking this question. First, it would give you an idea if the seller is likely to make a deal with you regarding the price and terms of the sale. If the home has been on the market for a long time, then that could give you leverage in the negotiating process. The second advantage is that you will have an idea if the home has underlying potential problems. Maybe there is a problem in the property that other buyers spotted and you didn’t?
9. Are there pest problems?Make sure you don’t skip on asking this important question. Pest problems are not easily noticeable during a home inspection and might be only fully observed once you start living in the property. Some examples of pests are cockroaches, termites, mice, spiders, raccoons, ants, and other smaller bugs. If the previous owner has a furry pet, they might be leaving behind fleas and ticks as well. If possible, you can ask if the property had a previous record of getting services from pest control.
10. What items will be included once I buy the home?
Instead of assuming what items will be included and not in the purchase, it is better to ask the seller upfront so that you’ll know what to expect. A home will always look nice for viewing with all its furnishing but imagine the disappoint you’ll likely get if you discover the top load washer and dryer you badly want gone the day after purchase. Typically, fixtures such as cabinets and satellite dishes are included in the sale. Also, if the owner is downsizing they might be willing to leave behind stuff that they cannot bring with them such as garden furniture etc.
Home viewing can be both exciting and tiresome. The 10 questions listed above will help you narrow down the special areas you want to focus on simply because these are the stuff that can rob you of the joy and comfort you expect in your new home. It is important that you also let a professional do a thorough home inspection so that you’ll be informed of the overall condition of the property. Not only that, but the inspection report can also be used in negotiating the price with the seller.
If you have any questions or need help buying your new home, I can help. You contact me at 647-834-9928 or send an email to email@example.com