When buying a house, it is important to determine whether you're investing in a starter home or a forever home.
If you are unsure about the home buying process as a whole, we suggest reading this post before you go on to get a little more peace of mind.
Here is a list of important questions to ask when buying a home. Remember, this is likely a long-term decision and you want to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
1. Are There Any Structural Issues?
While you’re able to look past some new home problems such as the paint color on the walls or light fixtures in the dining room, structural issues aren’t among them. Structural issues are not something that you can’t easily repair over once you move in – no matter how handy you might be.
Structural issues can include all kinds of things. Cracks in the foundation are a big no-no and a sign that you may need to do excavation in the future. Issues with supporting walls are also a significant problem and could render the property unsafe. And inquire more if you see any damp areas in the home, they could be a sign that there are severe issues with the home or that you are in a flood zone.
Of course, you don’t have to go digging around the foundation to find out whether a home has structural issues or not. Just hire a home inspector, and they’ll soon inform you of any problems with the property before you close the deal, but while you are house-hunting keep your eye out for what we talked about above.
2. Is the Neighborhood a Safe Bet?
If you’re buying a property, the likelihood is that you’ll be there for a long time: ten, twenty, or thirty years – possibly longer. You will want to know whether the neighborhood you have will be the same as time goes on.
It sounds like kind of a silly question, but there’s no denying that neighborhoods can change significantly over time. People can move out, communities can change, and entire industries can rise and fall. It all has an impact on housing.
You’ll also want to check whether the neighborhood is good for your family. Sure, the house itself might be great, but if the area is riddled with crime and has terrible schools, then it probably isn’t somewhere you want to live.
Definitely consult with your realtor about the area you are planning on moving to. They will likely have the inside scoop on whether or not the neighborhood has staying power and will remain a great place for you to live in the future.
(Recommended Read: Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent)
3. How Old is the Roof?
Typically, roofs last for a long time. But eventually, even the sturdiest of roofing materials will wear out and require replacement.
If you’re planning on buying a property, ask when the roof was replaced last. If it’s more than fifty years ago or they don’t know, then factor that into your consideration – replacing a roof can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
If you’re close to a final sale, ask a home inspector to check out the roof. They’ll be able to tell you whether there is substantial damage and if you’ll need to replace it soon.
4. How Long Has The Property Been On The Market?
The market is usually pretty good at figuring out which properties represent a good deal, and which don’t.
If a property has only been on the market a couple of weeks, then that’s great – there probably isn’t anything wrong with it and if there is, it will hopefully be caught during the inspection. If, however, it’s been on the market for a couple of years, you need to find out why.
Properties remain for sale for a long time for many reasons. One is that the price is just too high – the owners are asking for too much and aren’t willing to budge. Worse than this, the property has some problems that scared other buyers away. Find out why and decide if you are still interested.
5. Why Does The Seller Want To Move?
Finding out why the seller wants to move is vital for two reasons: first, it lets you find out more about the area, and second, it gives you a bargaining chip.
Sellers move for all kinds of reasons. It could be because they dislike the area, but equally, it might be for job relocation or some other life event. As a buyer, you want to know all of the push factors that could encourage a person to leave a community (such as noisy neighbors). Furthermore, you want to know why the seller is going so that you can negotiate a better price. If they desperately want to move, then you might be able to push them lower.
6. Is The Home At Risk Of Natural Disasters?
If the price of a home seems too good to be true, then it probably is. More often than not, you find bargain properties in thriving neighborhoods only when there’s the direct risk of natural disasters, like flooding.
The first thing to do is to check whether there has been flooding or damaging storms in the area before.
You can also take a look at insurance claim records filed by locals or, of course, ask your agent – they will let you know if the area is prone to weather-related damage.
7. What Type Of Properties Are Nearby?
The property you want to buy might be well-maintained, but if the surrounding homes are dilapidated, then it could affect the value of yours in the future. The majority of buyers don’t want to live in run-down neighborhoods, and those that do will often ask for significant discounts.
Likewise, you may find that the surrounding properties are better than the home that you want to buy. In which case, you may have found yourself a bargain. People want to live in swanky neighborhoods at a low cost and you can always use this as an opportunity to renovate and increase the value of the home you are buying if you decide to sell!
8. How Many Offers Has The House Received?
Multiple offer situations are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a sign that you’ve found a desirable home (or a bargain). On the other, it means that the competition is stiff.
If you love a particular house but find out that there are many offers for it, then don’t despair. Stand your ground and wait and see who ultimately wins. Be prepared to raise your offer over time. Your agent will be able to advise you on what the best move is if there are multiple offers on the home you want. They are used to these situations and will be your advocate when the time comes to negotiate.
Let our expert team help you find the perfect home! You can reach the CJCO team at 913.521.8806. Want to come and see us? Our office is conveniently located at 5000 W. 135th St. Leawood, KS 66224.