There are a lot of factors to consider when you buy a house. If this is your first time buying a house, you may not know every important thing that you should know when deciding on buying a house.
It’s understandable that you may have a lot of questions to ask when buying a house. After all, buying a house is a big investment and as such, you need to ensure that you are doing everything you can to ensure that your investment goes smoothly.
What are Questions that You Need to Ask Before Buying a Home?
Buying a house can be intimidating. There are a lot of things that you need to know before finally closing the deal on that house. As mentioned, you need to ask the right questions to get the right answers. Remember that information is your best friend when buying a house. The more you know, the better the purchasing decisions you make. So to help you out in your purchasing your house, here are 10 questions to ask when buying a house.
How Much is Your Total Budget?
Of course, the first thing you need to ask yourself is how much your budget is. This can help you narrow down your choices to the houses you can actually afford. You also need to consider the other costs that come with buying a house. Remember that buying a house does not only include its price, you need to consider property taxes, closing costs, and other expenses associated with the sale. This is why you need to know how much your budget really is.
So don’t go wasting time and effort going around neighborhoods searching for houses if you don’t know how much your budget really is.
How Much is The Down Payment?
So you know your current budget, the next thing you need to know is how much you need for the downpayment. By knowing the down payment cost, you can see if you are still within budget or if you need to do some adjustments.
How Much are the Closing Costs?
Another thing to consider is how much the closing costs will be. Closing costs are typically 2-5% of the price of the property upon purchase. So for example, if you buy a house for $250,000, the closing fees might come to $5,000 – $12,500. So this is another point of consideration in your budget.
What Does the Sale Include?
Of course, you are getting the house when you purchase it, but beyond that, what else can you expect to be included in the sale. Is the house you buy going to be semi-furnished? Depending on what you are looking for, this might be a good deal since you won’t have to buy furniture. This may ultimately help you save on cash. On the other hand, you might want to opt out of the furniture and appliances and get a bare house, this may also help lower costs if you can arrange it with the seller.
How Many Days Has the House Been on the Market?
Another question that can help you become a better negotiator is asking how long the house has been up in the market. The longer a home remains on the market, the more buyers begin to suspect that something is amiss. How much time is too much time? Each market is unique, so you need to ask your real estate agent for information on how quickly houses are moving in the market you are shopping in. If you find a property you like that’s been on the market for more than two months, you might be able to negotiate a lower price or a better bargain.
How Old Is the Roof?
Roof repair or roof replacement can be quite expensive so it is important to ask how old the roof is. The roof is larger than your house’s area and requires regular maintenance. Depending on the type of material the roof is made of, as well as the wear and tear brought about by various weather conditions, asking how old the roof is will give you an idea of how much and how soon you need to spend for maintenance and getting a new one.
Are There Any Problems with the House?
You can never ask too many questions about the house you want to buy. Aside from asking specific questions about areas of the house that may have had problems before, you must also ask whether the house has had any problems in general.
This question is essential because it will prepare you for any maintenance required, get you more information about the house you have not explicitly asked, learn what the sellers might not have disclosed due to legal reasons, and anything that was overlooked by an inspector. Make sure you follow this up by asking who made the repairs and how you can contact them.
What Is the Neighborhood Like?
You would definitely not want to buy a house in a bad neighborhood. In order to get a true sense of what the neighborhood is actually like, it is best to ask the people who lived there – the sellers! Most people won’t say anything if there is nothing good to say at all, and the sellers are no different. Asking the sellers why they are leaving can tell you everything.
If the house you are purchasing has a Homeowners Association assessment or HOA assessment, find out the HOA financial health status to determine whether the community is financially stable.
Should I Be Concerned About Natural Disasters Near The House?
If the house you are buying is located in a federally designated high-risk flood zone, it will require flood insurance. You need to purchase enough homeowner’s insurance so that if an unfortunate disaster destroys your home, you won’t be stressing about rebuilding your home.
An obvious strategy is doing a simple online research about the neighborhood’s natural disaster statistics. For example, FEMA’s Flood Map Service can tell you whether the property is in a high-risk flood zone.
Are There Any Health or Safety Hazards?
Lead paint, radon, mold, and other severe dangers can be expensive to fix and might delay your loan approval. If there have been previous concerns, get paperwork from the seller and learn exactly what was done to remedy them. You may have to pay more for specialist services if you detect hazardous concerns or if a home inspector recommends additional testing.
What Should You Not Say When Buying a House?
First, never say that you are in love with the house or that it is your dream home. You can show interest low-key but admitting that you are dying to buy the house will give the seller or agent all the reason to negotiate a higher offer.
Second, never say that the asking price is unreasonably high. Remember that the sellers have loved or still love their home and may take this as an insult to the quality of their beloved home, which they spent a lot of time, effort, and money on. In addition, agents may take this as an insult for not knowing how to value a property accurately.
Third, never make an offer below the asking price, even if you think it is fair, or even if you are doing this to try your luck. This can be seen as an insult and agents may not take you seriously in the future, and tag you as a frivolous buyer.
Lastly and most importantly, do not say anything that is disrespectful or insensitive. For example, blatantly describing the decor changes or room renovations you envision for the house can feel like you are implying the seller has bad taste. Remember that the seller has the power to decide to go with another buyer, even with a lower offer, only for insulting their taste and the sentimental value they put into their home.
In conclusion, be mindful and aware of how you deal with the seller and agent. Always strive to make a good impression and try to make as many honest compliments as you can without appearing to be over enthusiastic. Treat the seller and agent with respect and they will likely respect your offer in return.
Should You Trust What the Realtor Says?
In short, yes. There are several reasons why you should trust what your realtor says. First of all, it is in your realtor’s best interest to be trusted not just by you, but by each and every client he has and will have in the future. A realtor’s livelihood is built upon client referrals. As such, it would be to the realtor’s benefit to be as trustworthy and as honest as he possibly can to his client if he has any hopes of growing his clientele.
Realtors also follow a strict code of ethics. The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics states that “[Realtors] identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.”
Knowing is half the battle. And by asking the right questions, you get the necessary information you need to make a well-informed decision. Buying a house is no easy task, and if you don’t know where to start, it can even be more difficult.
Although the questions listed here are important, don’t let them be the only questions you ask when buying a house. You need to think about what you are looking for in a house and ask questions that can help you check if what you need and want is in the house that is being offered to you. Make a checklist before meeting with your realtor and write down all the relevant questions you want answers to pertaining to the house. Doing your own research is a great way to get information on the house you are eyeing buying, but don’t forget to ask questions to get first-hand information that will surely help you in your purchase decision. So ask away and happy house hunting.