Buying a home? It's an exciting and also a stressful time in your life. Knowing which house to "say yes" to can be difficult if you aren't going into the home-buying process prepared with the right questions. Take this list with you and get the answers before you decide to close on a home!
1. Have There Been Any Pest Infestations?
The previous owner can provide proof of any past issues, but you should still ask around the neighborhood for any pest problems that are common to the area as well as have cracks sealed, have wood piles moved more than 20 feet from your house, and have a pest control official inspect the house to spot any other potential issues.
2. Are There Any Foreclosures in the Neighborhood?
If the answer is yes, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price.
3. How Much Do Utilities Run Per Month?
Knowing what the previous owner paid in utilities per month will help you decide if you can manage the monthly budget.
4. Can I Have Paperwork and/or Warranties For the Appliances and Any Home Systems?
If there are issues with any of the appliances or home systems once the previous owners have moved on and you have moved in, you'll be equipped with the information you need!
5. Any Issues With the Sewer System?
This can be a major, and often costly, problem if the sewer or septic system has had issues in the past. You'll want to know if they've maintained the systems over the years and if any scheduled maintenance is needed in the near future.
6. What Are the Other Properties in the Area Selling For?
Knowing this information will help you make a good offer. You'll know if the owner is asking too much or, perhaps, if the neighborhood is a hot spot with higher asking prices. Bonus tip: ask how long the property has been on the market. If the property has been on long, you will have leverage to make a better offer for your budget as the person may be desperate for an offer.
7. What Is the Neighborhood Crime Rate?
You can find this information online, but you may also want to check with the local law enforcement. They often have bulletins or briefings that will tell you what kind of crime, if any, is happening and how frequently.
8. Why Is the Seller Moving?
Leaving a bad neighborhood? Or a new job offer? This will help you make your choice and know how to bid or not bid.
9. How Old Are the Windows?
They're not cheap to replace . . . and you'll want to know how energy efficient they are since that will affect your utility bills.
10. How Old Is the Roof?
Know the roof situation before you buy as they are costly to replace and can cause major damage if there are maintenance issues.
11. How Are the Neighborhood Schools, and Where Are They Located?
If you have children or plan on having children, this is an important question to ask. Check out the school websites, do your research about the ratings and test scores, and stop and ask neighbors with families about their experience with the school district.