When you’re ready to begin searching for a new home, it’s easy to get swept up in the process. The combination of an exciting prospect of a significant life change and the persuasive tactics of those trying to sell you that life can often lead to you leaving a property tour with no real information.
It’s always best to come prepared with a list of questions you can ask at the open house. Here are a few of the best hard-hitting questions to help jump-start your brainstorming.
Are There Any Structural Issues with the Home?
Being caught unaware of structural issues years from now is every homeowner’s nightmare. Ask this question when you view the home; the listing agent can provide you with an official seller’s disclosure that should help shed some light on the home’s health.
Has the Seller Made Any DIY Renovations?
DIY renovations made by the previous owners are notorious for causing problems down the line. And work that wasn’t completed by a licensed professional is also much more likely to incite a code violation. You should also always schedule a professional home inspection before your closing date.
What (If Any) Updates Have Been Made in the Home Since the Seller Purchased It, and When Were They Made?
Major updates, such as ones to the electrical, roof, or siding, will give you a good idea of what will need your attention in the coming years. A home inspection should also assist with this question, and inspectors can even estimate how long some features have left before they need to be fixed or replaced.
Is there an HOA, and What Are the Fees?
An HOA, or homeowner’s association, comes with a long strip of red tape: fees, regulations, and rules that apply to anyone who lives under the neighborhood umbrella. If the home has an HOA, get more information so you can research their requirements, including the annual fees or amenities cost.
On average, what is the Seller Spending on Utility Bills?
If you care about energy efficiency, you’ll want to make sure you ask this question. Learn what sort of energy the home uses and what the estimated cost of the utilities is. It will help bring the budget for your new home into focus.
How Old is the HVAC System?
Updating a new system can be costly, but old systems could cost you a fortune in utilities and repairs. Ask specifically about the HVAC system, as this will affect your overall comfort year-round. You can also check in with other systems like water heaters and plumbing fixtures.
Be Prepared When Buying a Home
Buying a home is an exciting, thrilling time in your life. But you don’t want to take off the rose-colored glasses years from now, only to wish you had learned more about your home.
These questions should help as a great jumping-off point, but take some time and ask yourself what things are crucial to you living a happy life in a new home. Discuss your list with your real estate agent so you can be on the same page and have an open, direct conversation about your needs.
By advocating for yourself and asking these essential questions, you’re on your way to a more enjoyable, stress-free home-buying journey.