Buying a house for the first time can be tricky but not as tricky as finding the right one.
If you are a first-time homebuyer, remember that shopping for a house implies a total devotion to the process. It requires accurate assessment, research, and careful preparation.
At some point, you might find yourself pondering whether to buy a house from the owner or use the services of a real estate agent. While the latter can guarantee several benefits like access to a broad network of sellers, FSBO deals can help you save money and pay no extra commission.
Finding the right place to live remains the ultimate goal regardless of your choice.
Before deciding to make an offer, you want to make sure that you have carefully evaluated all the pros and cons of the property. Drawing up a list of questions to ask when looking at a house can help you leave no room for error.
Our comprehensive checklist of tips and home buying questions can help you flag questionable deals, rule out unsuitable offers, and find a home that meets all of your needs.
Why Did You Decide To Sell The House?
That is one of the first things to ask when viewing a property. It is crucial to understand the reason behind the owner’s decision to move out and sell.
It can also help you get an insight into the possible issues the house or the neighborhood might have and understand why the seller is motivated to sell the property in the first place.
If the seller plans to move out as soon as possible, it might help you gain the upper hand and negotiate a lower price.
How Long Have You Lived In This House?
If the property you are interested in has been in the hands of multiple owners over a short period, that is a red flag. It can result from a bad neighborhood, house problems, or loud neighbors.
Naturally, that is not always the case. But it is crucial to understand whether there are some hidden issues or information the owner is intentionally withholding from you.
What Is the Current Condition Of The House?
Owners are typically required to inform a potential buyer about the property defects, but not all of them do.
That is why a home inspection is a must for any potential homeowner. It will help you identify all the current issues, negotiate a lower price, or withdraw your offer without penalties.
How Long Has The Property Been On The Market?
It is common for owners to strike a deal fast when their property has been on the market for too long. That might mean two things. First, the owner might have mispriced the house and been eager to negotiate, and second, there might be something wrong with it. You will have to inspect it thoroughly.
Does The House Condition Pose Any Health Or Safety Risks?
This question has everything to do with inspection. Making sure that the property poses no serious risks or dangers is paramount.
You can start by asking a seller to provide all the past issues and resolutions. You can also talk to the neighbors and ask them if they ever had any pest problems, for instance.
If you have doubts, a comprehensive inspection and testing will be beneficial in figuring out whether you would like to make an offer on this property.
Is There A History Of Insurance Claims On This Home?
When shopping for a house, you need to pay specific attention to its insurance history. If there is a history of losses, it will haunt you and affect your ability to get coverage for a new house.
For example, a house with water-related damage will likely suffer from mold problems. In turn, inhaling mold spores can result in chronic medical conditions. If you decide to buy this house, you will not be able to get appropriate or affordable coverage, for that matter.
Requesting a C.L.U.E. report from the owner can help you manage risk and give valuable insight into any damage, loss, or peril that took place.
Have You Done Any Repairs Or Renovations? What Was The Reason?
Naturally, it is crucial to learn everything about the property’s current condition. However, consider asking about any repairs or renovations made in the past. Why? By knowing about the past problems, you can expect what you should expect from the dwelling.
As a potential homeowner, you should ensure that any prior work on the house has been officially approved. You can request any related documentation from the seller to ensure that there have been no violations.
If there were, and you are not aware of them, you might be responsible for them over time as a current owner.
What Is The Housing Budget?
Asking yourself if you can afford this particular house is the first step. The second step is to ensure that the utility costs will not make you raise the brow once they’re in.
Buying a house comes with numerous advantages and responsibilities. Therefore, remember that you need to discuss all the related issues and learn about expenses like heating, electricity, recycling, the Internet connection, etc. If the house has a green power supply, you should be prepared to pay significantly higher utility costs.
Utilities can influence your budget. That is why you need to stay realistic and consider your moving expenses. If you’re looking to buy a house with a green power supply, adding up relocation costs might result in overspending.
How Sufficient Is Soundproofing And Property Insulation?
It is common for buyers to view several houses before choosing the right one and making an offer to purchase the property. This way, they can assess the price range, see what’s on the market, and make an informed decision.
When viewing the houses, make sure that you pay attention to all the installations like basements or swimming pools.
Asking about energy efficiency and high-quality soundproofing is crucial. While it adds value to the house and increases the price, it offers numerous advantages to potential owners.
What Can You Tell Me About the Area and Neighbors?
You might have heard the saying: “Good neighbors make good fences.” Well, good neighbors can also make a good neighborhood. That is why it is crucial to find out as much as you can about the area and people living next to you.
Before making an offer, drive around the neighborhood and talk to people. The seller might not be eager to reveal all the negative details if there are any. That is why you should rely on the information you can get from the community and your research. Find out about crime statistics, schools, parking, and amenities to see the whole picture.
What’s Included When I Buy The House?
Asking this question will help you understand what you get with the house. Since not all appliances or installed items might transfer to your possession, you need to pay close attention to the list of items included in a deal.
There is nothing wrong with asking or double-checking if the outdoor furniture, a lamp, or a water heater are sold with the house.
What Is Factored Into The Closing Costs?
That is one of the most critical questions because closing costs are yours to handle. The total expenses often include property evaluation fees, inspection, taxes, insurance costs, and more.
Remember that you may not be fully informed about the final cost in advance, but you can get a rough estimate and negotiate some of the costs included in the total amount.
Asking the right questions while viewing and assessing the property you plan on buying can help you decrease some of the costs and negotiate a deal with the owner. This way, you can make the closing costs fit into your budget.
What Is The Best Thing About Living In This House?
That is a personal question that can get the owner to talk about his feelings and home. The answer will allow you to see whether there is an emotional connection between a seller and a place.
While it might seem irrelevant, asking this question can shed light on some details about the house, neighborhood features, or the area.
Victoria is a Senior Content Writer at American REIA. She helps customers find the right educational material through easily-digestible blog posts and buying guides backing their insurance coverage choice. Victoria covers the latest industry news and various insurance topics, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.