If you are planning on buying a house soon, you likely have a list of questions ready to ask your real estate agent. Before you get to your agent, though, the following is a list of questions you should be asking yourself.
1. Why buy?
Depending on your situation, renting could potentially be the better option. You need to ask yourself whether buying is the better decision for you, your finances and your situation.
2. Is this the right time?
Certain months and seasons promise a larger and better selection of houses to pick from, better rates, and, in general, a more rewarding buying experience. The colder months, for example, aren’t great for house hunting.
3. Do you have the budget?
Other than the sale price, you will also need to budget for property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowner’s association dues, maintenance, unexpected repairs and so forth. Do you have the additional money?
4. How much house can you afford?
For the budget you have, what market should you be shopping in? Three-bedroom with three baths? Two-bedroom? Or perhaps a smaller house? To get an accurate answer to this question, it is best to get a pre-approval. This can identify how large of a mortgage you qualify for.
5. Why is the seller selling?
Owners can sell their homes for many reasons, not necessarily negative ones. You should be asking because sometimes when people sell, it’s because the house has a deep-lying (structural) problem or other perhaps other costly issues. However, it may also be because they have outgrown their current house or are looking to downsize. Asking this question can give you peace of mind.
6. Can I make the necessary repairs/renovations?
If there’s a problem with the house which would necessitate repairs, the next logical question is whether you’re prepared to make those repairs and if you can afford it. Another consideration is the time it may take to renovate or repair those areas.
7. Will I need additions?
Additions are a completely different challenge to repairs. Even a simple addition could cost you thousands of dollars. Are you prepared, financially and otherwise, for that extra burden?
8. Has the house been renovated recently?
If so, it would be wise to verify that the renovations were genuine and not cover-ups. For instance, verify that the fresh coat of paint in the basement isn’t covering cracks in the foundation.
9. What’s included in the sale?
Are there items inside the house such as a furnace, cabinets, window blinds, and so forth? If so, it’s prudent to know which items are included and their condition.
10. What’s the neighborhood like?
Do you like the homes in that area and the neighbors? What about schools, hospitals, public transit, and other amenities? These are just some of the questions you need to ask.
11. Is the area prone to natural hazards?
An area that’s prone to floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters may require additional insurance coverage. And, that’s if you’re prepared to go through these hazards in the first place.
12. Which inspections do I need?
Every buyer needs to get a general home buyer’s inspection. But, that’s not all. You may also need and want a pest inspection, mold inspection, foundation/structure inspection, and so on.
13. How long has the house been on the market?
There are two reasons you need to know how long a house has been on the market. First, it could be an indicator that something is amiss with the property. Secondly, it gives you a bargaining chip!
14. Where is the seller’s disclosure?
If the home has a major structural issue that needs disclosing, the seller is required to furnish the buyer with a disclosure form. You need to demand this form before signing off on the purchase.
15. Are you prepared for the closing costs?
Closing costs include origination fees, appraisal costs, administrative costs, and any other fees paid at closing. To be on the safe side, set aside about 5% of the home’s sale price for these costs.
Now, You’re Ready!
If you can answer all the above questions, you’re ready to begin the buying process.
The Michael Stoltzfus Group is located in Lancaster, PA and serves the Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania area. We work diligently to help home buyers and sellers like yourself achieve their home goals. With extensive experience and knowledge of the area, the real estate team at Michael Stoltzfus Group will provide friendly and professional support for your entire real estate transaction.
Contact us online where one of our professional team members will respond via email or call us today at 717-380-3367.