So you’ve seen what looks like your dream home at a great price. You think your search is over, and it’s time to make a substantial offer and set the buying process in motion. However, before you go any further, ask these vital questions to make sure your dream doesn’t go sour after it’s too late to turn back.
1) Window Quality and Condition
Poor-quality windows are expensive and inconvenient to replace, and it’s not a job that you can put off for long. When viewing a potential home, check whether the windows are in good condition, that they close properly and are free from drafts. If there are any issues, think carefully before going any further, and at least ask for a discount to help with replacement costs.
2) Yard Questions
How much work will it take to keep the yard in shape, and are you prepared for this? Have you the time and energy to do it yourself, or can you afford to pay someone? Are there any trees which will need cutting back to size for safety, or any old or rotten ones which could fall in heavy weather?
3) Flood Potential
Is the property at the bottom of a hill which could cause flooding risks, or will heavy rains drain safely away? Is there any history of flooding on the broader area? Flooding is not only dangerous and expensive, but it can also make home insurance challenging to obtain.
4) Street Safety
Are there sidewalks on the street so that you and your family can walk in safety? How heavy is the traffic on a typical day, and are there safe places to cross?
5) Amount of Renovation Required
Can you move into the property as it is, and live there happily without starting refurbishments immediately? While it’s normal to want to make your house your own, you can’t do everything at once. Moving is stressful enough without following it with months of immediate renovation disruption.
6) Pest Issues
Ask the seller or real estate agent if a pest control plan will be necessary, but don’t rely on their word entirely. Check carefully for any signs of ants, termites, rodents, or other pests both inside and outside the property.
7) Check for Smells
A property that’s been empty for a while may smell somewhat musty and stale, but any odors stronger than that could be a sign of trouble. Be wary of damp or moldy smells, especially those coming up from a basement. Also, be aware that if the current occupants have pets or are smokers, these odors may take months or years to clear.
8) Check the Neighborhood
Do neighboring properties look clean and adequately cared for? Are the cars parked around the area in good condition, even if they’re not expensive or new? Do the yards look attractive and well-maintained? Good neighbors can be a blessing while poor ones can cause misery, so try and get a feel for an area’s residents before going ahead with a property purchase.
9) Utilities and Other Expenses
How expensive will it be to live in the property after moving into it? How much is heating likely to cost, and how high are the local taxes and insurance rates? This information is especially important if you’re buying a home at the upper limit of your budget, which will leave you little cash in reserve.
It’s easy to fall in love with a home and put aside any reservations in your enthusiasm. However, buying a property is one of life’s most important decisions, so ask these questions first to prevent making a costly and traumatic mistake.