Buying a new home is one of the most exciting and daunting experiences, whether it is your first house or your fifth. But when determining which property on the market is your dream home, it’s essential to consider all aspects before signing the paperwork.
Read on for 22 questions that every new homeowner should ask, from finding a new house to moving in, to ensure they get the best property possible!
Are There any Health or Safety Hazards?
Some older houses were constructed with products that are unsafe by today’s standards, including lead paint or radon. Other houses can have safety hazards like mold or asbestos that you should be aware of.
If the house seller does not provide documentation about past or current issues, you can hire an inspector to carry out additional testing for problems. It’s always best to know what potential issues you will be dealing with before moving in!
Are There any Problems with the House?
Known defects, critical issues, and faulty systems are important to discover when looking at houses. The seller must disclose any significant problems with the home, but you should also inquire about the house’s general condition.
Has There Been Much Interest in the House?
It’s a good idea to ask how much interest has been taken in the property before buying. How many offers have been made on the house? You can ask how many viewings have been carried out and estimate the popularity of the property from that.
Additionally, if you choose a busy time to view the property, such as a Saturday afternoon, you can gauge for yourself how much interest other people have in the house. This will also reveal the competition you might have when making an offer.
How Long did the Sellers Live in the House?
If the sellers did not live in the house for long before selling, it could illuminate an underlying issue with the property or the neighborhood, so this is a crucial question to ask. A quick move can be a sure sign of problems.
How Long Has the House Been on the Market?
Most houses will stay on the market between several weeks and months, depending on the area, price, and general fluctuations in the housing market. But if a property has stayed on the market for over three months, there could be some problems.
How Many Owners Has the House Had?
Similar to asking how long the previous owners have lived in the house, querying how many hands the house has passed through is important. If the property has been flipped from owner to owner rapidly, is there an underlying issue that has gone unnoticed?
How Much Are Other Homes in the Area Worth?
Checking similar homes in the area and seeing how much they sell for is a good way to determine if a property is overpriced. Search for other homes with the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and matching square footage and check their price tags.
How Much are the Closing Costs?
Estimating your moving budget will inevitably include the closing costs associated with buying a house. Generally, closing costs will be around 2-5% of the home’s purchase price, so you should be prepared to pay upwards of at least $5,000 for most houses.
Experts recommend that you reserve a different amount of money to account for the closing costs outside of your down payment. This will prevent you from borrowing out of your down payment account and possibly setting yourself back.
How Much Should You Save for Your Down Payment?
Buying a house will always be a significant expense, and saving up for it is essential. If you have the funds, putting as much money down as possible is a good idea, as it will lower your monthly mortgage rate and save you money in the long run.
Most mortgage experts say that you should try to accumulate at least a 20% down payment to accompany the money you get from the mortgage. If that is still too expensive, try not to go lower than 10% to avoid extra fees and interest.
How Much will Moving Expenses Be?
The fees attached to the moving process can blindside you, so make sure to factor moving expenses into your budget. Are you moving locally or across the country? Can your friends help out, or do you need to hire a professional moving company?
There are several options for moving your household goods and personal items, from renting a truck yourself or getting the entire process professionally handled. These costs will also vary drastically, so ensure that your budget can allow for the moving process!
How Old are the Appliances and Systems?
It’s a good idea to ask about the condition and age of the house’s appliances and utilities. Even if the rest of the home has been freshly renovated, moving into a place with an ancient oven can be annoying.
Additionally, you should ensure the utilities and systems have been kept up to date or replaced recently. This will help keep your utility bills low by having a properly functioning system with all the latest improvements.
How Old is the Roof?
The roof is one of the most important aspects of a new home, so make sure to ask about its age. Replacing an old roof is necessary and very expensive, so it’s best to know in advance if this kind of repair is on the horizon so you have time to properly budget.
How Will You Furnish and Decorate?
Before you even move in, give some consideration to how you will furnish your new home. That way, you can avoid straining your budget to accommodate furniture or decor that is not a priority. Even if your new house is somewhat bare, planning is key!
Is the Location Prone to Natural Disasters?
From earthquakes to floods, it’s important to know about the area you are moving into. Is your new house in a place where hurricanes or wildfires are common? Is it on a floodplain or in a tornado corridor?
Make sure you know what kind of natural phenomenons are common in the area before you move in, and prepare for these types of emergencies well in advance, including putting together an earthquake or flood kit or a go-bag for disaster evacuations.
Were There Any Major Renovations or Additions?
Familiarize yourself with any building work or renovations that have been carried out around the property. Have any alterations or additions been implemented, and are they all to code? Knowing the improvement history is key to identifying a home’s condition.
What are the Nearby Schools Like?
If you have children, you should look into the quality and closeness of the schools around the new property. Having good schools within walking distance can be an important selling feature for new homeowners.
What is Included in the Sale?
This can be easily overlooked, but it’s always best to ask what is included when buying the property. The fixtures, appliances, and furnishings might not come with the house, so knowing what you will need to purchase in advance is a good idea.
What is the Commute Like?
It’s a good idea to establish your commute time and route before settling into a new home. The property might be in a great area but with a doubled commute time—are you prepared to complete that drive?
What is the Garden Exposure Like?
For anyone interested in gardening and yard work, you should establish what direction the property’s exposure has and what kind of sun and shade influence it. Many plants, shrubs, and trees are very specific in their exposure needs.
What is the Neighborhood Like?
Take a drive or walk around the neighborhood at different times of day and strike up a conversation with the neighbors to get to know the area. Are there good shopping venues nearby? Is it a quiet neighborhood? These are all excellent questions to ask.
What is Your Housing Budget?
This is one of the key questions to ask—how much money do you have reserved for buying a house? It’s important not to go over budget when looking at homes, as you will saddle yourself with a difficult mortgage to maintain.
Experts recommend that mortgage payments should not account for more than 25% of your monthly take-home salary, and you need to budget for property taxes, insurance, and any other homeowner association fees that might pop up.
Why is the House Being Sold?
The reason behind the owner selling the house can shed light on issues that have not been previously mentioned. Most people sell homes for job relocation, family matters, or because they have become too small.
However, you might find that the neighborhood experienced a quality decline, or there are underlying issues with the property’s condition, such as mold or asbestos, and that’s why the house is for sale.