When buying a house, you have to be absolutely sure about it before you actually make an offer. With so many options and houses on the market, finding “the one” that you can call home is not easy. You need to conduct research and, most importantly, ask the right questions. It is the only way to be sure that you are making a competitive offer on an affordable home that meets your needs.
Finding the right home involves research, so you’ll need to ask yourself and the others these ten questions :
- What’s my budget?
Before you start viewing houses on the market, you need to know your budget and what you can afford. Understanding your finances will save you a lot of time and trouble. However, your budget should include the sales prices and all the additional costs, such as the homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and any maintenance or renovations you intend to do.
If you don’t have the money ready, you need to be approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. Proving to the seller that you have your finances in order is essential to show that your offer is serious.
It also shows the realtor that you are a qualified buyer, and you are not wasting their time.
- Is the property prone to natural disasters such as floods?
Because of its flat terrain, Florida is more likely to flood than any other state. If you are considering a home in Florida, you might need additional insurance to cover any possible damages in case of a natural disaster.
You can use FEMA ‘s Flood Map Service to find out if a home is located in a flood zone.
On the other hand, homes that are located in places where earthquakes frequently happen, such as California, require earthquake insurance. You also need to get a homeowner’s insurance that covers the costs of rebuilding if the home is destroyed. If you don’t have the right coverage, you could be burdened with a huge bill for repairing your home.
- Why is the owner selling?
Before you make an offer on a house, you need to understand why the owner is selling. Is it due to downsizing? A job relocation? A significant life event? Knowing the reason will help you in negotiation. You should also hire the right agent to help you find out if the seller is flexible or not during negotiations. Someone who needs to sell quickly because he needs to move out or because the house has been on the market for quite some time is more likely to work with you and negotiate.
- What does the sale include?
When purchasing a house, every fixture, such as faucets, cabinets, and window blinds, should be included in the sale. However, there might be some items that you’d think are part of the deal, but they are actually not. You should check the laws of your state to find out. Listings usually spell out anything that the owner is not selling, but that varies from a listing to another.
It is important to ask the seller or the agent what’s part of the deal and what’s not.
If you really want those appliances, you can ask the owner to throw them into the deal.
- Was the house renovated?
Sometimes, what is written in the property records and what’s in the description don’t match up. For example, the description might have that the house has three bedrooms, while in reality, it has two and an additional room that does not conform with the building codes.
Ask the seller personally if he has done any major renovations or repairs to the house and whether the manufacturer warranties were replaced. Understanding the history of a house can help you evaluate its condition and determine if the sale price is fair.
- Is the roof old?
Solid roofs are necessary, but also expensive. If a roof is old and you might have to replace it as soon as you move in, you might be getting a bad deal. If it’s already damaged, your loan may not be approved by the lender before you fix it. It’s essential to find out the roof’s age to avoid a headache later.
- How long has it been on the market?
If a house spends a while on the market, the seller will be more motivated to make a deal. He can be more flexible with the price, terms, and credits for replacing an old carpet or fix any issues.
If a house’s price is too high, it might spend a long period on the market, therefore going through several price cuts.
These properties are an excellent opportunity to negotiate a deal as most buyers will assume that there is something wrong with the house.
- What is the price of homes sold in the neighborhood?
Researching the local market can help you understand if the house’s price is reasonable or too high. You can ask your realtor to gather data on similar properties listed at the same time and the ones that have been sold recently. If further negotiation is possible, ask the owner to deduce the price or pay for the costs of closing the deal.
- Are the neighbors friendly?
Understanding the neighborhood before moving in can be quite challenging. However, it shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked. You can ask the seller about the neighbors and what are they like. Are they quiet or noisy? Are they friendly? Is the neighborhood pet-friendly?
However, you shouldn’t rely on the owner to get the full truth. Go for a drive in the area and stop to ask around and speak with the locals. It’s the best way to get the details.
- How’s the neighborhood?
There are a few things you can change about your house. The neighborhood, on the other hand, can’t be fixed or replaced. This is why it’s important for you to love the area before you move in since you are going to live there for quite some time.
Realtors can help you know more about the common amenities, crime rate, schools, and even traffic.
Fortunately, it’s the 21st century, and you can find out so much from the internet about schools, the homeowners association rules, and even parks.