The prospect of purchasing a new home is exhilarating to be sure but can be a bit overwhelming as well. Knowing what questions to ask when viewing a house to buy is one way to narrow down your options and hone in on the perfect property for your needs and preferences.
What to Ask a Realtor When Looking at a House
1. Why Are The Owners Selling or Choosing to Leave?
The first question you should ask when touring a potential new home is why the current owners are choosing to leave or to sell. Obviously, moving for a job, or needing more or less room are fine reasons that don’t present any issues. What you don’t want is some ambiguous answer that is suspicious in nature and makes you wonder if they are leaving due to bad neighbors, undesirable school zones, costly repairs needed within the home, or other similar issues that could be a problem for you down the road.
2. Is the Home in a Flood Zone?
Another question you need to have answered about any property you are considering is whether the home is in a flood zone or the area is prone to other natural disasters. At the very least, this means that you are likely going to need to purchase additional home insurance, which is a cost you should factor into your budget. At worst, knowing the risk involved might indicate you need to choose another option altogether.
3. Have There Been Recent Renovations or Are There Needed Repairs?
Ask if there have been recent repairs or renovations to the home or if the home will need specific repairs in the near future. This could include asking the age of big-ticket items, like that of the roof, HVAC system, or costly appliances. When it comes to repairs or remodeling, remember, even a seemingly well-done renovation might not be up to code if the owners completed it themselves, so it’s a good idea to ask about any renovations and find out if the homeowner used a licensed contractor to make those updates to the home. They should have the paperwork to prove it. Do your best to look past the beautiful aspects of the home and use a discerning eye to try to find any flaws and potential pitfalls that might be present.
4. How Long Has The House Been on The Market?
Although it is not a hard and fast rule, in most cases it proves true that a home being on the market for longer than normal is indicative of either an owner who is unwilling to budge on pricing or a home that has significant problems. Ask your realtor how long a home has been on the market and if the answer is longer than normal, follow up and ask why that might be, push the issue and get this information as it could prove invaluable. You want to know exactly the reason the home hasn’t already been sold.
5. What is Included in the Sale?
In most cases, anything that is categorized as a fixture is included in the sale of the home. This could include items like faucets, cabinets, etc. Of course, sometimes even these are not part of the sale and other times, owners will leave items like appliances to the buyer. Therefore, it’s a good idea, just so you know exactly where you stand, to ask what is included in the sale when you are on a tour of the home.
Bottom Line: If it Comes Into Your Head, Ask
The questions above are all vitally important and necessary to find out the right kind of information you need to know as a potential buyer and are good questions to ask when looking at a house. However, don’t feel limited by them, instead, use them as a jumping-off point and then ask away beyond that. If a question comes into your head, don’t be afraid to ask it! Keep in mind, you have a right to know anything and everything there is to know about a property you are considering for purchase.