Buying a house is a major milestone in life, especially nowadays. Houses are expensive, jobs are scarce, and more and more families are relying on two incomes in order to balance the budget. Maybe you’ve spent a little too much on Thunderbolt online casino (and who could blame you?).
However, if you’ve managed to cross the threshold and are now looking for a home to settle down in, then congratulations! Buying a home is an exciting prospect. Finally, a bit of land for you to call your own. However, finding the right house isn’t easy. There are many factors to consider when looking for a good home. That’s why I’ve collated 10 important questions you should always ask when looking to buy a brand new home.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself
What is my budget?
Obviously, you shouldn’t buy something you can’t afford. Figuring out much a particular house is going to eventually cost you is no mean feat either. Aside from the sales price, you have to consider property taxes, homeowners insurance, ongoing renovations, maintenance, and homeowners association dues. All these initial expenses often make buying a home significantly more expensive than renting, at least initially.
Do we want kids?
This is obviously a very large question with ramifications outside of the type of home you’re looking for. However, if the answer is yes, then this is something you should be taking into account. How many bedrooms are you going to need? Bathrooms? Do you want a yard for them to play in or a den to separate work and play? Remember, a three-bedroom house is suddenly going to feel a lot smaller with two kids running around.
What kind of neighborhood do I want to live in?
You should also think about the neighborhood itself. The differences between an urban, suburban, and rural home give each of the various advantages and disadvantages in this area. Living in a big city can be pretty convenient, with nearby jobs and shops for whatever you need.
They also tend to be louder, more frantic, and more dangerous. If you have kids or planning to have them, you should be thinking about what kind of schools, activities, and social groups there are in the area. Again, a big city could mean more options, but the inner-city public schools aren't exactly known for their quality.
Going more rural has its own advantages and disadvantages. Typically, it means sacrificing options and convenience for a smaller, more tight-knit community. You’ll likely need to commute farther in order to get to schools, work, and shops. Still, there's something immensely cozy in the idea of raising kids in a more open environment, with a yard to play in and space to stretch one's legs, so to speak.
Is this house in a flood and / or quake zone?
It’s kind of important to know if your house can be swept away by a tsunami at any moment, don’t you? Plus, if the house you’re looking at is in some kind of natural hazard zone, you may have to purchase additional insurance. Look for federal maps and zoning to determine the risk to the property. Ideally, you should be purchasing insurance that can cover the entire house getting swept away in a worst-case scenario. Otherwise, when the raccoon apocalypse descends on your house or whatever, you'll end up finding yourself footing a massive bill should such a disaster strike.
What kind of insurance should I get?
This question is very much related to the question of natural disasters and future expenses. Initially, forking out the dough for insurance can feel aggravating. It feels like you're burning your hard-earned cash for next to nothing.
This is not the case. Like medical insurance, it feels like a waste… until you suddenly need it. Flooding, hurricanes, or an avalanche of squires could tear your house apart. Paying the insurance now will potentially save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in the future. This is one of those things that not investing now will hurt far worse than the money you’ll save in the meantime.
So make sure you find a good insurance plan. Homeowners insurance, flooding insurance, quake insurance… different states, counties, districts could require or legally differentiate between such things, so do your due diligence and find out what's right for you.
Questions You Should Ask the Seller
Why are you leaving?
You might be uncomfortable being so direct, but if you can worm this information out of them, it’ll be immensely helpful. Basically, you are trying to discretely see if there’s a problem with the house or community itself that the previous homeowner is trying to get away from. Legally, they are usually required to disclose any known problems with the house, but sometimes you can tease out some information that they might have neglected to mention.
And, of course, they could have completely fair and legitimate reasons for moving out. Maybe they simply want a change of scenery, or a new job requires relocating. Still, when it comes to massive expenditures, like a house, it's important to get all the facts before whipping out your wallet.
Have there been any major renovations and / or modifications?
Asking about renovations or modifications is important because it might turn out that there was some work done, like installing an additional bedroom that isn't quite up to code. Property records and listing descriptions don't always match because of such modifications. Ask for details. Knowing a home's renovation and modification history can give you an idea as to the overall condition of the house.
A house might look immaculate, but is that because the house is in amazing condition or because the drywall was replaced and painted over two weeks ago? Keep in mind that most homeowners are not malicious, though, and trying to rip you off- unless you're buying from a realtor, and in that case, trust them about as far as you can throw them.
How old is the roof?
Let's be honest: The roof is big, important, and expensive. If the house's roof is nearing the end of its life, you could be looking at several additional thousand dollars worth of expenses in the near future. If you need a loan to afford the house, your lender may require the roof to be repaired first if there's any damage. If the listing itself doesn't say zilch about the roof's age, find out as soon as possible to avoid potential headaches in the future.
How old are the appliances?
This one is less of a "must ask" and more of a "nice to know" kind of information. This can help you anticipate future expenses if the more essential appliances, like the refrigerator, furnace, boiler, water heater, washer, or dryer, are near the end of their expected lifespans. If that's the case, you can sometimes ask the seller to purchase a home warranty, which can help cover replacement costs in certain instances.
How long has the house been on the market?
If a good house had been on the market for too long, without anyone buying it, it could be a sign that there's something wrong with it. If it's been listed for ninety days or more, you can make a low offer of about 90% of the asking price. Not too low to be scoffed at, but low enough to save a good chunk of dough. Between 21 days and 90 days, though, there's a sort of middle-period where negotiating can get more nuanced and tricky (a real estate agent could help you out here, though).
The House For You
It really is true that information is one of the most powerful weapons of the modern-day. Asking the right questions and understanding the answers is a vital part of navigating markets like the housing market. Thankfully, with some good investigation and great online resources (such as Aussie, hint hint), you can become a successful homeowner easily and quickly.
So, what are you looking for in a home? Perhaps you are moving for convenience, to gain access to services or a job. Or maybe you're moving away from such things in search of a better environment for your kids. Maybe you just want a change of scenery. Either way, there's a home out there for you. You just have to play your cards right, work smart and hard, and you'll be successful in your house-hunting expeditions.
So what are you waiting for? Figure out what you want in a home (ideally, in a nice, organized list), establish your budget, and look up your nearest Realtor. Then, once you find one that seems right, ask the right questions, get the right answers, and hopefully, in the very near future, you'll have a beautiful new house to make a home for yourself. Be patient, and don't be intimidated. Millions of people go through this process every day, and you can too. It would behoove me to add that, with resources like these, what could possibly go wrong?