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Questions to Ask When Buying a House

By Gretchen Wegrich Updated on 12/22/2014

Before Buying a HouseBuying a house is a long-term commitment and it is essential to do your due dillegence on the real estate property before making the home yours. There is no easy way out of the mortgage if issues arise in the near future, so asking the following questions may prevent any unfavorable surprises. 

1. Are there any problems with the home?

Pay attention to how the seller answers. If you notice anything about the house that seems suspect or abnormal, ask the seller to explain it. Asking open ended questions will require them to give key details. 

2. Why are you selling the house?

Ensure that the home is being sold for rational reasons and not a means of escape from problematic homes. Occasionally, there are issues the inspector will miss when valuing the price of the home. Search the public records to ensure that there are no environmental issues or outstanding liens against the property. Be wary if they are not clear about their intentions of selling. 

3. What is the neighborhood like?

If the seller has lived in the home for even a short amount of time, they will have developed a familiarity with the area. Potential home buyers should ask many questions to learn how the location of the property and the surrounding neighbors might affect their decision to purchase the home. In addition to simply asking if the neighbors are noisy, ask if the neighborhood consists of families or professionals, affluent inhabitants or low income residents. Inquire about the area as well, such as whether or not there are any parks, shops within walking distance, bike trails, public transportation or other convenient amenities.

4. How much do you pay for utilities?

Contrary to what some first time homebuyers may believe, no two homes pay the same amount for utilities. Instead, these costs have a range depending on the home’s insulation, window sizes, sprinkler systems, and various other factors. To avoid being caught off guard by these utility costs, pose this question to your seller so that you will know exactly what to expect.

5. What do you like and dislike about this house?

This question can be an excellent way to begin a conversation with the seller and to find out more about the subjective value of the home. Because they are familiar with the property, the seller will have many comments, concerns and complaints about the home. For instance, shaded trees in the backyard may add more than just financial value to a property, while a storm drain located right beside the driveway may lower the home's subjective value. In all likelihood, the seller knows the home inside and out and can point your attention toward details that may reveal the home is a perfect fit for you.

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About The Author:
Gretchen Wegrich
Gretchen Wegrich is an editor at Lender411. She specializes in mortgage basics, personal finance and green living. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in writing from University of California, San Diego and previously worked at the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Contact her at gretchen@lender411com.

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