Buying a house can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and sellers before plopping down a down payment.
Following is a list of general questions you should always ask when considering making a real estate purchase. Keep in mind, however, you are unique.
You have particular dislikes and likes as well as factors in your life that are different from other people. The point I am trying to make is that you shouldn’t stick to just these questions. You are making an important choice, so give some thought to your situation.
1. Don’t rush into things. The first question to ask should be directed at yourself. What type of home do you want? How big should it be? What amenities do you want? Are you planning for a family in the next three to five years and will the home be able to accommodate a new bundle of joy? Make a definitive list and stick to it. If you stray from it, you could end up with a house that doesn’t really fit you and suffer buyer’s remorse.
2. The next question is what area do you want to live in? Pick a few. You may find the prices to be excessive or the selection not so hot, but make sure you exhaust those areas before moving on. Again, you want to avoid buyer’s remorse.
3. Once you start looking at homes, a key question to ask is how long the house has been on the market. The amount of time will give you an idea of how flexible the owner is on price. If the house has been on the market for a month, the owner isn’t going to be very flexible. If it has been on the market for six months, flexibility will definitely exist.
4. Has the house previously been in escrow, but fell out? If so, find out why? Was it a problem with the buyer getting financing or did the buyer find out there was something wrong with the home?
5. What kind of condition is the house in and how old is it? Remember that a seller has typically done everything reasonably possible to spruce up the home. If you can see wear and tear on the house, it may be a red flag. In such a situation, you need to get a home inspection to make sure there aren’t problems in areas you can’t see such as mold, rust and water leaks.
6. If you have children or are planning on it, you must investigate the school district. Are the schools good? Are there gangs or crime in the area?
7. In addition to the home price, you should ask whether there are any additional fees such association fees.
8. What are the property taxes and what will they be when you buy? Many people are shocked to find out how much they have to kick out in property taxes. Don’t get surprised.
9. Zoning and easement issues are often overlooked when buying a home. If you are buying in a neighborhood with many homes, zoning is undoubtedly going to be for residential living. Easements, however, can be nasty surprises. Find out if there are any easements on the property. An easement gives a third-party the right to use of part of the property. This can include giving the neighbor the right to do something or a utility company to place structures on your prospective property.
10. Noise is another big issue to consider. If you are serious about the property, make sure to drive by on weekdays and weekends. If the property shares a wall with another residence, such as a duplex or condo, make sure you view it while the neighbors are home to get an idea of how loud it is.
11. In the euphoria of buying a property, practical issues can be missed. A big one is traffic. Specifically, what is the commute like between the house and your place of work? You don’t want to buy the house only to find out it takes three hours to get to and from work each day.
Obviously, you should be asking many additional questions before making a purchase. These 11 questions, however, will help you get started.