Buying a house is like falling in love. When you first decide to purchase your new home, you will feel something extraordinary, deep inside you, that resonates with your vision of a future well lived.

It’s not always love at first sight, but it’s always a lasting type of love, as you’re often committing to your family’s forever home when it comes to buying a house.

Despite your passion for your new favorite house, it’s vital to ask the right questions to protect your investment. This purchase will most likely be the most significant financial decision in your life, coming with a mortgage that can last thirty years! No matter how much you adore this piece of real estate, you must keep a cool head when buying and know the right questions to ask your agent.

Our experts have compiled the top five questions to ask when buying a house.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent for Comp Prices & Much More

Though you always hear “location, location, location” as a top real estate quality to look for, knowing the comparable prices of similar homes in your new neighborhood is the first step to take before making an offer. You can save thousands of dollars by knowing this critical data and not just accepting the asking price of any home for sale. Home buying is a process, and the first step to take when you buy a house is to understand the price you want to pay compared to the sales price.

Savvy home buyers know the right questions to ask before putting a bid in for a new house. The sales price of any home is just the starting point for the true negotiation for your new house. Like a great business partnership, buying a home is built upon a compromise between the buyer and seller! Never assume the price is written in stone. It’s not!

One of the most critical questions you must ask is what similar houses in your neighborhood are selling for at this point. Make sure you see examples of any places that are comparable to the one you seek to purchase, and also be sure to ask how long the house has been on the market.

A vital part of the home buying process is knowing the fair price for your new house. Your realtor will be happy to help you with this necessary information you need to figure out the bottom line of your sales price. Once you are satisfied, you can work on getting your mortgage.

Questions to Ask Before You Buy a House

Before you put in an offer on any house, you should be aware of whether it has any issues and what items are included in the purchase. 

Black Magnifying Glass

Has the roof had any work done? Was the roof replaced over the last seven years? Has the heating or air conditioning, water heater, and washer and dryer been replaced over the last seven years? Find out the life expectancy of your roof and appliances to figure out if any large bills may pop up once you move in, based upon the life expectancy of these items.

Problems with the construction or major appliances in a house can cost you many thousands of dollars. Before you make an offer on a home, you need to understand the out-of-pocket expenses you may have if something is not quite up to date. 

When it comes to your roof, which is one of the most expensive items to replace in a home, it’s wise to understand this most important part of the house’s history and age. When making an offer, you need to have as much information as possible about your new home.

Answers to Know Before You Purchase Your Home

Use this handy guide for questions to ask before buying. As a homeowner, you need to have this crucial data for a successful purchase.

  • How old is the roof on the home?
  • Are there structural problems with the house?
  • Is the house located in a flood zone?
  • What is the neighborhood like?
  • How long have the sellers lived there?
  • What should you know about the community?
  • How long has the property been assessed at the current taxation?
  • When are the taxes being reassessed for homes in the area?
  • What are the tax property costs?
  • Can you get any information about the neighbors?
  • What are the specific borders of the property?
  • Is there a home association, and if so, are there any particular rules or fees you should be aware of?
  • If you have school-aged children, what is the name of the local school, and is it walkable?
  • Is there a possible deal-breaker your realtor must disclose to you?
  • What are the prices of similar houses in the neighborhood?
  • What are the sales prices of similar homes sold in the area?

Why Your Realtor Is a Powerful Home-Buying Asset

Your agent is experienced working with home buyers and will be happy to get all your questions answered. Sometimes, you may get answers you can’t accept, and it will be a deal-breaker.

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If a roof needs to be replaced, Florida’s average cost to replace a roof is about $7,000, but often this cost is much higher. You should ask your agent about local insurance companies that they recommend. Your homeowners’ insurance is essential for covering the cost of repairs. 

Your realtor can also answer questions about reliable local businesses that can make significant repairs or renovations, provide replacement expenses for any appliance you need, or give an estimate of costs based upon work in similar homes.

Another vital thing to ask your realtor is for any recommendations for a mortgage broker. Real estate professionals deal with lenders every day, and being referred to a mortgage broker can end up saving you thousands of dollars in mortgage costs.

Ask your realtor about the closing costs of any recommended lender they share with you. When you commit to a lender, make sure you know the total closing costs and if you will pay those fees upfront or if they will be rolled into your ongoing mortgage.

When becoming a homeowner, never feel embarrassed to ask before buying!

What About Additions or Major Renovations?

Having a vision for your new house is fantastic. With a little imagination, you can see the house’s fine bones, the walls that can come down to create a great space, and so on.

But before you put your offer in, take a moment to consider two crucial details: possibilities and practicalities.

CAPTION: This luxury home shared by real estate expert Maggie Ives has a stunning pool that anyone would love to have at their home!

Your possibilities include any creative ideas about refreshing, redesigning, or even making major renovations on the house you want to purchase. 

In today’s world, just about any idea you have for a new addition or major renovations can be done! Want to break down walls and create a vast, open floor plan? How about enlarging your master bedroom and building new, huge closets with built-ins for everything under the sun? Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a separate artist studio or a unique greenhouse.

If you have a handle on costs, you can do anything deemed safe by a contractor. Practicalities will always include costs and safety measures for any project, so before you sign on the dotted line, see if your imagination for additions or major renovations will lead to a practical dream come true.

Make sure you ask for recommendations from your realtor and even the seller for local, reliable people to call for any professional services.

Make Sure to Meet the Neighbors

Whenever you move, it’s essential to get a sense of the people in your new neighborhood. Home buying is partly a financial decision and partly an emotional one.

If the house your want to buy is an excellent match for you, and you’ve researched your bottom line, your down payment, how long the house has been on the market, mortgage rates, home maintenance, health or safety hazards, and what is included in the sale, it’s time to check out your neighbors.

What your neighborhood is like is much more than just brick and mortar. It’s about the people who live there.

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Don’t be shy casually stopping by the area and saying hello to your future next-door friends. If you are considering a condo, this is extremely important since you will be sharing your home’s walls with new people.

Even for the purchase of a house, it’s wise to try to meet neighbors. Anyone living near your future house will know about local events, safety issues, problems with the house, home association dues (if applicable), how natural disasters may impact your street, and much more. They may be able to help you acclimate to your home before you move!

You need to really know the place you’re about to move to once your offer on the house is accepted. The best way to understand your neighborhood is to speak to the neighbors.

It’s Okay to Speak to the Seller

Once you do have your offer accepted for your new home, you can also ask to speak to the seller. Be sure to ask the seller specific questions about the property, neighbors, the water heater and appliances, landscape services, local hot spots to visits, and even about the secret best route for your commute to work.

As a homeowner, speaking to the seller, which you will plan via your realtor, can answer important questions you need to know in addition to the ones we listed above, including:

  • What are average monthly utility costs?
  • Have they ever had to remediate radon or mold?
  • In the seller’s opinion, what is the neighborhood vibe?
  • Can they share some insurance claims with you, and do they recommend their homeowner’s insurance company?
  • Does the home have an alarm system? Can you keep this once you purchase the home?
  • Have they lived through any natural disasters, and if so, will they offer any tips?
  • Does the seller have any interesting historical information about the house or property?
  • Can you take over their home warranty, or does this come with the sale of the house?
  • Can you call them if you have a problem with a tricky garage door, an alarm, etc.?
  • Do they have any tips for home maintenance?

Ask Your House Inspector

Congratulations! You are now at perhaps the most stressful phase of buying a new home: the inspection! You’ve already agreed upon the asking price, committed to a lender for your mortgage, and made your successful offer.

As a homeowner, before you can take possession of your new house, you need to plan a home inspection after you put the down payment into escrow.

Magnifying glass's beside pencil

Are There Deal Breakers When Buying a House?

Sadly, sometimes a seller may not be honest in sharing important problems with the house. Though they may be trying to keep their sales price high, lying about major house problems is never okay. Issues such as an old leaky roof or health and safety hazards such as mold are not acceptable due to laws protecting house buyers.

The home inspection is key to your home’s final price since any major item of the house, such as the roof or other promised items included in the sales, must be in tip-top shape.

Suppose the seller promised the roof was in perfect shape, but you find major or partial damage that would most likely result in leaks. Your home inspector will note this and include it in his/her report. As a new owner, you have the legal right to take any major issue the house inspector discovers during the official inspection and request a price reduction.

A seller cannot lie to sell their house at a higher value. The home inspector is there to protect your safety and your rights. But remember: Being surprised that your roof needs to be replaced or that mold is everywhere in the basement is not the same as simply noticing the water heater, washer, or dryer is old.

You must read every detail in your legal agreement regarding what the seller states about the condition of the roof and more.

Small issues are not enough to renegotiate your offer. However, a shocking leaky roof or the widespread presence of mold are items that you can use to lower your price.

The lender assesses a home, and it is sometimes found to be worth less than the selling price. If you like, you can request the selling price to match that lower assessment. Some sellers will not agree to lower the sales price, but many will decide to either match the lower assessment price or meet you half-way.

Your realtor can ask the seller. At this point in the buying process, you will be right on the closing date, so if you really can’t live with replacing the roof unless the sellers agree to pay for it, then you may need to walk away. 

Buying a House Does NOT Have to Be Stressful

Key on the doorknob

Caption: Once you are the owner of your new home, you’ll realize buying a house does not have to be so stressful!

Home buying does not have to be an overwhelming and stressful event. Instead, with the help of your home inspection, your expert realtor, and all the information you’ve gathered by getting answers to vital questions, this can be a time of cheerful relaxation.

With the help of a savvy real estate agent, becoming the owner of a new home and planning to move will be a cinch to accomplish. Educated home buyers know it’s better to ask when buying and not wait until you have signed the closing documents!

Even when doing major repairs or renovations, using a recommended expert will ease your worries. Meeting the neighbors will also make you feel more welcome in your new home.

Once you know your sales price, closing costs, if there are any health and safety hazards, and answers about your new home’s potential future maintenance, your home buying experience should lead to a deep feeling of accomplishment and happiness.

If buying a house is still causing you stress and confusion, let our real estate experts offer a helping hand. We’ve got buying and selling experience in spades, and with our help, you can buy or sell a home with confidence.

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