Buying a home is an exciting time in a person’s life, but it can also be stressful and even overwhelming. There are some questions every home buyer should ask to make sure you do your due diligence when buying your new home.
How are the schools in the area?
This should be the number one question on any parent’s list. But, even if you don’t have kids, the ranking of the local schools will still influence home and neighborhood values. There are many websites where you can simply type in a school’s name or zip code and see rankings and reviews.
Will there be a home inspection?
We highly recommend having a home inspection so that you can fully understand the true condition of the home. Home inspections usually cover all the house’s major systems such as plumbing, electricity, and HVAC. If any problems or suspicions arise, a second inspection will take place for a deeper dive into the home’s condition. Once the inspection is complete, you can choose what repairs you want to negotiate with the seller. If you decide against having a home inspection, your real estate agent will ask you to sign a form that declares that you are waiving a home inspection and going against the agent’s advice to the buyer.
How noisy is the neighborhood?
Remember that the noise you hear when you check out a home during the day can be greatly different than the noise at night. To avoid any sudden surprises after move-in, be sure to drive by your home and around the neighborhood during the day and night, and if you can, on the weekdays and on the weekend to get a true feel for noise levels during different times.
How old is the house?
If you are buying an old home, ask when the last updates were and what was updated. A seller must provide a seller property questionnaire and transfer disclosure statement. These documents will give you insight into what updates or repairs the current owners have done while living in the home. If the home is older, it’s especially important to ask about any updates made to the plumbing and electrical systems.
How old are the appliances?
During an inspection, the inspector will tell you how old the appliances are. But, it’s also a good idea for you to look closely at the appliances while you are in the home. You may even want to take pictures of the appliances. If you are doing a virtual showing, have the agent zoom in on the appliances so you can take a good look and do some research of your own.
Have any renovations been recently completed?
Ask about anything you suspect may have been renovated. Was the renovation purely cosmetic, or was it done because something was failing? Get an explanation that is as thorough as possible. For example, fresh paint may signify past water damage. Sometimes a property will appear brand new thanks to investors recently renovating it. Often, investors buy a home for a discount, renovate it, and then list it at a higher price to turn a profit. This is why it’s extremely important to do your own research on the investor to make sure that they have a good reputation for a quality remodel. If it is an investment property, ask if the seller will provide any kind of warranty. Good investors will stand by their product and come back to make repairs if/when they are needed.
Do we need a home warranty?
One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is asking the seller to pay for a home warranty for the first year you live in your new home. Home warranties cover the majority of home appliances like the dishwasher, air conditioning, garbage disposal and so on. It is an excellent idea to ask for supplementary coverage in the purchase contract for washer/dryer and refrigerator coverage. That way, if the fridge or dryer breaks, the home warranty company will try to fix it. Home warranty companies charge a service fee of approximately $65 to $100, depending on your policy. That service fee will be way less than repairing or, worse case, replacing a fridge or other appliance.
Buying a home can be an overwhelming process, but you will know the property’s condition before advancing with the purchase if you do your due diligence, which will avoid a lot of headaches and pocketbook busting in the future.