What questions should I ask when looking at a house?
From asking about any HOA rules to the conditions of a home’s major systems, here are the 15 questions to ask when viewing a house.
- What Are The HOA Rules?
- Who Else Has Access to the Property?
- Has The Home Been Fitted With Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
- What is the Age of the Home and Its Key Systems?
- Is There a Pest Control Or Home Warranty in Place?
- Has There Recently Been Any Significant Remodeling?
- What’s the Area Like?
- How Strong is the Water Pressure?
- What Are the Terms of the Current Owner’s Mortgage?
- Why is the Seller Moving Away?
- Are There Any Disclosures?
- How Energy-efficiency is the Heating/Cooling?
- Has Anyone Died in This House?
- What is The Age of The Roof and The Last Time it Was Replaced or Repaired?
- What is the Condition of Major Systems?
What Are The HOA Rules?
When I was shopping for a house I was surprised by how many of the newer homes have HOA rules and regulations. Before buying a home make sure to ask if there are any HOA rules and if there are get a copy of them.
HOA rules can vary from allowing fences to, if you can part a boat or spare car in the driveway. You want to be sure that you are ok with what is in the current HOA rules and also know that if there is an HOA those rules can change in the future.
Evan McCarthy, President CEO, SportingSmiles
Who Else Has Access to the Property
Troubles with zoning and easements are commonly initially disregarded. Discover if the property has any rights of way that grant a third party specific rights. Before making a purchase, you should find out if a neighbor has permission to access a certain area of your land or if a utility company is allowed to build on it. Having a clear understanding of your property lines may also prevent future disputes with your neighbors.
Timothy Woods, Director, Carnivore Style
Has The Home Been Fitted With Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
When viewing a house, it is important to ask plenty of questions to ensure the property is suitable for your needs. One particularly important question to ask is whether the house has been fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
It is vital that any potential home has functioning safety devices installed, as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can provide early warning signs of possible fire or gas problems, ensuring residents are able to evacuate quickly should an emergency occur.
In addition, it is also sensible to check when each device was last tested, as some may need replacing over time if they have not been maintained properly by the previous owner. Asking this question will help you ensure you will be safe in the new home.
Aviad Faruz, CEO, FARUZO
What is the Age of the Home and Its Key Systems?
Don’t be shy about inquiring as to the age and condition of the home, which can guide you to ask appropriate follow-up questions, especially if you are not viewing a recently-built home.Find out what repairs were done, why, and when, as well as what if any updates were made.You’ll want to know the age and condition of key systems — heating, cooling, plumbing, electric, and septic if necessary. You’ll also want to find out the age of the roof.The older any of these items are, the higher the chance they could negatively impact your home maintenance budget. And in addition to being saddled with repairs or replacement costs, you could also pay a higher homeowners insurance rate since the insurance company is taking on a higher risk with an older home with outdated systems.
Karen Condor, Insurance Copywriter, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com
Is There a Pest Control Or Home Warranty in Place?
Pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, can cause extensive damage to the structure of the property. If possible, ask if the seller is willing to provide a recent structural inspection report from a licensed professional.
Additionally, inquire about any existing warranty on major appliances or systems that have been included with the sale of the home and whether it will transfer to you as the new owner. This could help protect your investment should something break down unexpectedly.
Peter Lucas, Owner, Relocate to Andorra
Has There Recently Been Any Significant Remodeling?
Acquiring a home is intimidating. Even if you have bought a home before, it’s likely been a while since you had to deal with the hassle of moving. You won’t be shocked to find that purchasing a home is typically the most expensive investment you will ever make. You’ll be surprised to learn that we view homes for an average of 25 minutes* before making a purchasing decision.Make sure you can show the development authorization and the freeholder’s approval for any recently concluded work (if applicable). You should remove it if the proper consent were not acquired for an extension. A new coat of paint may indicate that the sellers conceal flaws or moisture.
To ensure nothing unsightly is being disguised, look under carpets. Be on the lookout for the musty smell of moisture.
Samantha Odo, Real Estate Expert & Chief Operating Officer at Precondo, Precondo
What’s the Area Like?
If you have children, you’ll want to learn about the nearby schools, parks, and recreation facilities. Of course, you may conduct your own research, but the seller may be able to provide some useful first-hand information on parking, neighborhood pubs, road noise, and transportation options.
Verify the forms of internet that are offered if the residence is in a remote place. If you rely on a very fast connection, it can be a problem.
You can check to see what broadband coverage and deals are offered at an address if you know the postcode of the house.
Steve Pogson, Founder / E-commerce Strategy Lead, FirstPier
How Strong is the Water Pressure?
When viewing a house, one of the most important questions is about the home’s water pressure. Low water pressure can be caused by various factors, such as blockages in the pipes, an aging plumbing system, and restrictions imposed by a municipal ordinance. Poor water pressure can make day-to-day activities difficult and expensive; if your household needs more than just showers and sinks with low pressure, it could require additional investments down the road. Take time to determine how consistent the flow is from all faucets throughout your prospective home. If you find areas with significantly lower water pressure than others, inquire about any potential repairs or replacements that may need to be done. Ensure you get an accurate estimate of costs for any possible maintenance before signing on so that you don’t have surprise expenses in the future!
Kate Wojewoda-Celinska, Marketing Manager, Spacelift
What Are the Terms of the Current Owner’s Mortgage?
A great question to ask when viewing a house is: “What are the terms of the current owner’s mortgage?”.
This will help you understand the buyer’s financial situation and give you insight into any potential problems or liabilities that might come with buying the house. Additionally, it can help you negotiate a better deal if the seller isn’t able to pay off the mortgage completely.
Asking this question can also help you determine whether the seller is motivated and if they are willing to negotiate on price or other terms of the sale. Knowing as much as possible about a property before making an offer is always wise, so don’t hesitate to ask this important question when viewing a house.
Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal
Why is the Seller Moving Away?
A homeowner who is fleeing the neighborhood for a new career or who has surpassed the home has a totally different rationale for selling than someone who does not get along with the neighbors.
Understanding why the vendor is leaving will help you determine whether or not you can bargain on the price. If the seller is really motivated, you may be given some leeway in requesting more stipulations in your proposal.
Nathan Hughes, Founder, Art Ignition
Are There Any Disclosures?
The seller must disclose any potential occurrence of lead paint in the home. Additionally, they may be required to report the existence of asbestos, mold, water damage, or pest infestation in particular areas. However, it is unreasonable to anticipate the vendor to divulge the information if they are unaware. The seller might not let you conduct a specialized inspection to check for asbestos or other dangerous materials, even if you wish to. You might have to make the best guess and decide to pay if you need to remove these materials from residences constructed when those materials were widely used.
Shad Elia, CEO, New England Home Buyers
How Energy-efficiency is the Heating/cooling?
You should know about the energy and cost-effectiveness of the heating and cooling system of the house. The expense of replacing an old furnace will be high. Even a more recent burner or heat pump could be noisy or not offer the same level of energy efficiency as more recent models. Therefore, you should learn more about the home’s heating and cooling system, including whether or not it needs to be repaired or replaced right away.
Connie Glover, General Manager – Product & Market Development, Bfx
Has Anyone Died in This House?
Seriously, has anyone died? Ghosts are not cool. You don’t want to buy a house that is haunted. At least ask the question so you know the situation going into it. If you know people have died in the house you at least know what you are getting into if you decide to buy the house. It sounds silly, but trust me, you want to ask this question.
Scott Krager, Founder, TubeSplit.com
What is The Age of The Roof and The Last Time it Was Replaced or Repaired?
One often overlooked question to ask when viewing a house is: “What is the age of the roof and when was it last replaced or repaired?” The condition of the roof is an important factor in the overall condition of the home, as a damaged or old roof can lead to leaks and other issues. It’s important to understand the age and condition of the roof so that you can budget for any necessary repairs or replacements in the future.
Celeste Porter, Community Manager, ResumeHelp
What is the Condition of Major Systems?
When viewing a house, ask the seller or real estate agent about the age and condition of major systems and installations, such as electricity, plumbing, heating, or air conditioning unit.
Such information is critical, especially if the house was built a few long years ago. This information can give you a sense of the potential repair and maintenance costs you may face if you decide to purchase the house. Any electrical, plumbing or pipe failure can lead to extensive damage and costly repairs. The condition of the system and installations matters to you your wallet.
Additionally, ask about the property’s history, including any renovations or improvements made or if current or previous owners struggled with any problems. This can help you understand the house’s condition and make an informed decision about whether it is the right fit for you.
Nina Paczka, Community Manager, Live Career
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