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17 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a House So You Don’t Regret It Later On

Are you buying a house? Before you do, it’s important to do your homework to make sure that you’re buying a house that you won’t regret later on. One way to do this is by asking the seller or the seller’s agent some questions to make sure you are making the right decision. Here is a list of questions that you may want to ask before committing to buying the house.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

1. Is there any Stigma?

You should ask about any stigma associated with a house before buying it. In many states, real estate agents are not legally obligated to disclose stigmatized properties unless specifically asked. 

Stigmatized properties are homes with a dark history, such as being the site of a murder, violent crime, paranormal activity, or being previously owned by notorious individuals. This usually has a negative effect on the property value and makes it harder to sell because some buyers may not be interested in living in it. Although agents are not required to disclose stigmatized properties, they will do so if you ask them directly.

2. Why is the Homeowner Selling The House?

It’s always a good idea to understand why a homeowner is selling their home. What’s prompting them to sell? Are they relocating and in a hurry to move out? Or is it due to a divorce, downsizing, or something concerning about the neighborhood? Is there a specific timeline for their move? Knowing why the homeowner is selling can shed some light on their motivation, which can be helpful when it comes to negotiating the price of the home.

Questions to ask before buying a house

3. How Much Have Nearby Homes Sold For?

It’s always a good idea to know how much homes in the neighborhood have sold before making an offer on a property. Knowing the prices of neighboring homes will give you an idea of what is a reasonable offer, and ultimately help you get the best price for your home. After all, you don’t want to be the owner of the most expensive home on the block.

4. How Long Has It Been on the Market?

It’s always wise to know how long a home has been on the market before getting into negotiations. This will give you a sense of your bargaining power in terms of price. 

If a home has been on the market for a long time, the seller may be more willing to negotiate on the price, since they are probably desperate to sell. While, if a home is new to the market, the seller may not be as flexible when it comes to price. 

You should also look at the listing history. Find out if a home has been taken off the market and then put back on, since this could indicate that there were some inspection issues that led the previous buyer to back out of the purchase.

5. What’s Included in the Sale of the Home?

You should always ask what is included in the sale of the home. Don’t assume that everything you see at the open house is included in the sale of the home. 

Window treatments, light fixtures, and even appliances may not be included. Don’t be surprised if that 2nd fridge in the basement is not there when you buy the house. Or that vintage chandelier is not included in the sale of the home. Find out exactly what is and what is not included. 

6. How Much are Utilities?

It’s a good idea to ask the seller about their monthly utility bills. Find out how much their electric, gas, garbage, and internet expenses are. This will give you a better understanding of how much you can expect to pay for your monthly utility bills. 

If you are considering buying an older home, it is especially important to know the costs of utilities since older homes tend to have poor insulation. You don’t want to be surprised with an unexpectedly high gas bill! 

7. Is there School Bus Transportation?

Don’t assume that all homes have school bus transportation. Some towns have radius restrictions and if your home is too close to the school, you don’t get a school bus; they expect you to walk to school. 

Before buying a home, ask the seller if there is school bus transportation available. Also, find out where the bus stop is. Don’t assume the bus stops right in front of your house.

Questions to ask before buying a house

8. Are there any Issues with the House?

Always find out if there are any issues with the house. Even though the seller’s disclosure form will reveal any issues, it’s still a good practice to ask questions. Find out if any repairs were done to fix the issue.

Knowing about these problems before your home inspection will be helpful because you can ask your inspector to examine them more closely.

9. How Old are the Appliances?

Before buying a house, always find out how old the appliances are in the house. Many home appliances start to break down after 10 years. If the appliances are approaching the end of life, you need to know this information so that you can take into account the cost of replacement to the price during negotiation. 

10. How Old is the Roof?

Before you buy a house, it’s important to find out the age of its roof. Roofs have a limited lifespan, and if the roof of the house you are thinking of buying is nearing the end of its life, you should be aware of it. 

Replacing a roof is expensive, and you must take that into account while negotiating the home price. 

11. How Old is the HVAC?

Knowing the age of the HVAC and water heater units is important when buying a house. If the HVAC unit is approaching the end of its lifespan, you don’t want to be taken by surprise and have to pay thousands of dollars to buy a new one.

12. Have There Been Any Renovations and/or Additions Done to the House?

It’s important to ask whether the previous homeowner made any additions or renovations. You should also find out who they hired for the job so that you can do some research to determine whether the contractor has a good reputation in the area or if they perform substandard work. 

Also, it’s important to check if permits were obtained for the renovations or additions. The last thing you want is to buy a house where the homeowner did not get the proper permits.

13. Is this Home in a Flood Zone?

You need to find out if the home you’re interested in is in a flood zone. This is because being in a flood zone means you will have to pay for flood insurance, which adds to your monthly expenses. 

If the home has a sump pump, you will also have additional expenses associated with maintaining it. Also, to avoid any future surprises, you’ll want to know if there has been any history of flooding or water damage at the home. 

14. Is this Home on Wetlands?

Before buying a house, it’s important to know if it’s on wetlands. These lands are protected and vital for local wildlife. Being on wetlands usually requires additional paperwork when it comes to home renovations. Special wetland permits are required for most construction work. It’s good to know ahead of time before you buy the house.  

15. Are There Any Health Hazards at this House?

Another question to ask the seller is whether there are any potential health hazards in the house. Have there ever been any previous lead or asbestos issues? Are they located near a superfund site? Is there radon on the property? Have they installed a radon mitigation system? Most of these will be disclosed in the seller’s disclosure form, but it’s also good to ask. 

16. Have there Been Homeowners Insurance Claims in the Past?

It’s worth checking if there have been any previous claims on the homeowner’s insurance policy. If there are, it can negatively affect your homeowner insurance premium. For example, if the previous owner had filed a claim for water damage, you might end up paying a higher premium.

17. What’s the Neighborhood Like?

It’s a good idea to find out what the neighborhood is like. Although your agent and the seller’s agent cannot answer this question directly since they are not legally allowed to, you can ask the seller or even the neighbors. 

It will give you a better understanding of what it’s like to live in the area, which is always good to know before you buy a house. Did you know your real estate agents could lose their licenses if they answered these questions? Questions You Should Never Ask Your Real Estate Agent.

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