Buying a home is an exciting process, but it can also feel like a bit of a gamble if you’re not sure where to start. After all, buying a home is a major financial investment. That’s why it is absolutely essential to know exactly what you’re getting — and what you’re not getting — when closing on a house.
The more information you can gather, the better informed you will be before making a final decision. In many cases, you will be dealing directly with a realtor instead of the seller. This may limit some of the information you’ll be provided, but it will allow you to ask questions more freely.
Not sure where to start?
Here are five questions to ask the REALTOR® when shopping for a home.
When was the last time the roof, HVAC,
and furnace were replaced?
These are big-ticket items, and the last thing you need to discover after shelling out money for a new home is that a major renovation is required. Remember that quality counts for assessing how long a feature is capable of holding up, too.
Examples of additional information to ask for:
Is there a homeowner's association
(HOA) in this neighborhood
Many HOAs require yearly membership fees. They also usually enforce their own set of rules and regulations throughout the neighborhood, from quiet hours to landscaping and renovation requirements.
If there is an HOA in the neighborhood, you’ll definitely want to consider how it will affect your experience of homeownership.
What materials were used in construction?
This is a very important question to ask the realtor, because quality construction can literally make or break the longevity and performance of a house. With some building materials, more upkeep and maintenance can be expected. Homes made out of concrete, for example, will likely require less upkeep than those made out of wood beams or logs. In addition, the materials used during construction can also give you a better idea of the home’s energy efficiency, which can impact seasonal expenses and energy bills.
This same question applies to interior design elements, too. Open houses and private tours are usually fast-paced, which doesn’t always allow the buyer to take note of specific details. But when it comes to buying a home, knowing whether the kitchen featured acrylic solid surfaces or imported Italian granite can make a big difference!
What accessibility features are present in the home?
Accessibility is something that has gained awareness in recent years, so older properties are not always equipped with critical features that some buyers need or want for their home.
Examples of accessibility features that can make a house safer for homeowners and for their visiting gifts include:
What appliances and/or additional features
are included in the sale?
Don’t get your heart set on that gorgeous range stove in the kitchen without first confirming that it’s included in the sale of the house!
In fact, you’ll want to confirm exactly what features will stay with the home and what will be moved out. This includes garden fountains, chandeliers, kitchen appliances, and any other furniture pieces that may be moving with the current homeowner. And if they’re planning on leaving something behind that you’re not interested in, advanced warning will give you time to make arrangements for its removal.
Start with these five questions, and the REALTOR® will be prompted to share all the useful information you need when shopping for a new home!
Content provided by Matt Lee. Matt is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.