When it comes to homebuying, asking the right questions can make the difference between finding a house and finding a home. Sure, there is the obvious list of things to be curious about—but what about those under-the-radar homebuying questions you might not think to ask? That’s what we’ve compiled today. Give them a read below, then ask away.
1. Who was the builder?
This is one of the first questions to ask when buying a house. Even if it looks fine during the walk-through, you could find out the builder has a reputation for taking shortcuts—possibly costing you a fortune in repairs, or more seriously, your health and safety. You can look up their history and investigate specific plans like the foundation, plumbing, or electric by visiting the Better Business Bureau or contacting the county records office.
2. Why are the sellers moving?
The answer could reveal a lot. If they’re relocating for a job and time is of the essence, you may have more negotiating power. On the other hand, they may be getting away from an annoying neighbor or noisy morning train—in which case, this may not be the home for you.
3. Does the home belong to a homeowner association (HOA)? If so, what are their rules?
Depending on the community the home is in, HOA regulations may come into play. These associations dictate a number of things that you can and cannot do to the home (e.g., what colors you can paint your shutters). There are also fees involved. So before you buy a home within an HOA, make sure you read the agreement and have a full understanding of your monthly and/or yearly fees.
4. How easy would it be to move furniture into the home?
Ask this homebuying question and your back will thank you. You may fall in love with the spiral staircase, but that short-lived honeymoon period will end when it's time to get your king-sized bed up it. Before you get sold on a house, envision how feasible moving furniture like mattresses and dressers will be. Bring a tape measure when you go to look at the home, too.
5. What type of roof does it have? What’s the age/condition?
Roofs are expensive. And if the home you’re interested in will need a replacement in the next few years, you’ll want to know so you can budget, negotiate with the seller, or walk away. Also, even if the roof is in good shape, it’s important to know what type it is—as this will determine its lifespan and maintenance costs.
6. What kind of natural light does the home get?
A house with ample natural light saves electrical use and keeps your energy bills down—while keeping your mood up. In fact, studies have shown that natural light can benefit homeowners by reducing dips in mood, increasing productivity, and providing faster physical healing. Visit the home during peak sunlight hours to see which rooms get the most natural light.
7. Am I close to recreational venues?
These places can be as grand as concert halls and museums, or even just ordinary settings like theaters and trails. If you have kids, see how close the nearest playground, public pool, and ball field are. Time away from the home is essential, so make sure you have places nearby to enjoy.
8. What’s included in the sale?
When it comes to homebuying, what you see is not always what you get. That chandelier in the foyer may be beautiful—but it may not be not be part of the sale. So be sure to closely review what items are included in the seller’s disclosure. If the chandelier is not a part of the sale, for instance, it’s your job to write it in should you decide to put an offer on the home.
Asking the right homebuying questions can help you find the right house. And when you find the right home, you’ll need the right lender. Find out if we’re the right match for your home loan by taking a look at this free interactive worksheet.