When it comes to buying a house, you definitely should not judge a book by its cover. When you attend an open house or have a private showing of a house you are interested in, it’s important to ask some pivotal questions.
The first questions should be addressed to the homeowner. Why did they buy the house and why are they selling the house? If they have to relocate because of a job, you may have an opportunity to bargain more on the price if they are running out of time. If they are selling because of financial trouble, you should pay careful attention to see if they have kept up the property if funds have been low.
Asking how they have liked living there, specifically what they have liked the most and the least. This will give you further insights before you buy a house. Pay attention to what they say as well as how they say it to determine if there might be any hidden issues.
Whenever you look at a house to buy, take a checklist with you to remember what to ask and to record the answers. Here are the specific areas you will want to check before you buy a house:
Appliances – How old are appliances in the kitchen and laundry room? Have they had any recent repairs? What about the hot water heater, air conditioner and furnace? When was the electric and plumbing last updated? Have they been serviced regularly.
Roof – how old is it? You can expect a roof to last 15-20 years.
Insulation and Windows – How old are the windows and is there adequate insulation for the climate. Are all areas insulated, especially attics and crawl spaces? This will affect your heating and cooling costs.
Warranties – Which appliances, systems, windows, etc. are still under warranty.
You should find out as much about the neighborhood as possible before you consider buying a house. Here are some key questions:
What have similar homes in the neighborhood sold for in the past year? And what are the asking prices for other homes currently for sale? This will help determine if the house is priced according to market value.
What other non-residential buildings are nearby? Are there apartments or businesses close by? This can affect the home’s resale value.
Are there schools, restaurants and retail nearby?
Is the neighborhood quiet? What age are the neighbors? Are there train tracks or airports nearby?
The last set of questions relate to the sale and financing when you buy a house:
How long has the house been for sale? Was it for sale in the past and went unsold? Have there been any price reductions?
Have you had offers on the property yet? This will let you know how eager the seller may be. It will also tell you what offers to buy the house have been rejected.
By asking these important questions before you buy a house, you will know whether it meets your needs and you will be able to make a fair offer.