8. What to Ask When Looking at Homes to Buy

by Local Title

When you’re in the market to buy a home, it’s crucial to know the right questions to ask to ensure you find the perfect fit for your needs and avoid potential pitfalls. Here are some key questions to consider:

  1. What is the history of the property? Ask about the age of the home, previous owners, and any major renovations or repairs that have been done. This can give you insight into potential issues and the overall upkeep of the property.
  2. What is included in the sale? Clarify what will be included in the sale of the home, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, or garden sheds. This helps avoid any surprises after you move in.
  3. Are there any zoning issues or land use restrictions? Check if there are any local zoning restrictions or future developments planned in the area that could affect your use of the property or its value.
  4. What are the local schools like? If you have children or plan to have them, the quality of local schools will be a significant factor. Even if you don’t, school quality can affect resale value.
  5. What utilities are available? Find out about the availability and cost of utilities like water, electricity, gas, internet, and cable services, which can significantly affect your living costs.
  6. How old are the major systems? Ask about the age and condition of major systems such as roofing, heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. This can help you anticipate future expenses.
  7. What is the neighborhood like? Inquire about the neighborhood’s safety, friendliness, noise levels, and overall ambiance. Consider visiting at different times of the day to get a true sense of the area.
  8. Are there any homeowners association (HOA) fees or rules? Determine if there is an HOA governing the property, what the fees cover, and if there are restrictive covenants or rules that might impact your lifestyle.
  9. What are the property taxes? Check the current property tax rate and find out if there have been recent reassessments or if increases are expected. This will impact your budget.
  10. Has the property been tested for environmental hazards? Ask if the home has been tested for radon, asbestos, lead paint, or other hazardous materials, especially if it’s an older property.
  11. Why is the seller moving? Understanding why the seller is moving can provide insights into potential issues with the home or neighborhood that aren’t immediately apparent.
  12. What is the crime rate in the area? Research or ask about the crime rate. A safer neighborhood often means a better living environment and potentially higher property values.
  13. How long has the property been on the market? The duration that the property has been for sale can provide leverage in negotiations. Long market times might indicate a possible overprice or issues with the property.

By asking these questions, you can better assess whether a home meets your needs and expectations, helping you make a well-informed decision.