Buying a home is huge investment and an exciting purchase. Many buyers are so swept off their feet once they find the right home, they tend to jump the gun and make the purchase without doing some preliminary research. Before you commit, take the time to ask these essential questions.
1. What’s the sales history? When did the home last sell and what did it sell for? Knowing the purchase history of the home will help to educate you on what the seller may be expecting for an offer.
2. Were there any major renovations or additions made? Ask for receipts of the work that’s been done so you can gage what the seller is looking to gain from this sale. A kitchen remodel or extension to the house may add a fair amount to the value of the home. Keep in mind, generally, “home renovations reap a 64% return on investment” (Mandell, L.J., Realtor.com).
3. How much are the property taxes? This can be quite a significant added expense that you will want to account for. Understanding what the property taxes are in relation to the purchase price is very important.
4. What are the monthly maintenance/utilities costs? Ask the seller what monthly utilities bills look like for a property that size. Is there an HOA? What other overhead costs should you be aware of?
5. Has there ever been a broken pipe or sewage issue? “According to the insurance information institute, broken pipes account for an estimated 22% of home insurance losses,” so hire a good home inspector (Mandell, L.J., Realtor.com).
6. What is the age of the roof? Replacing a roof can be costly. Ask the seller how old the roof is so you can anticipate how long it should last and if you’ll be needing to replace it.
7. Have there been any pest infestations? Always obtain copies of the pest work that has been done and be sure to have any current pest issues treated prior to move-in. Though the sellers may have had pest work done in the past, this does not guarantee that the home is pest-free.
8. Are there any warranties on appliances? You should also obtain copies of any warranties on appliances. This can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs or replacement costs.
9. What are the parking restrictions? Where can you and your guests park and do you need some form of permit? Nobody wants a parking ticket or their guest’s car towed.
10. Is there any unusual history of the house? Aside from death or crime, which, in most states, should be legally disclosed, ask the seller if the house has ever had any other uncommon uses like TV filming. This could cause some unordinary foot traffic to your home.