Once you have decided that you are in the market for a new home, you will receive a great deal of advice from friends, family, and co-workers. Chief among these pearls of wisdom will be the caveat to ask lots of questions—and good advice that is. However, knowing the kind of questions to ask is of utmost importance if the home buying process is to be a pleasant and successful one for you.
In addition to the obvious queries you make of yourself about finances, credit scores, desired type and location of your new home, it is also helpful to be prepared to formulate questions in the following areas:
- Choosing a REALTOR: You will want a real estate agent who is knowledgeable, experienced, available, and motivated to help you find the right house. Although recommendations from others are certainly helpful, you should set up a personal interview to discuss marketing strategies, contacts with mortgage providers, references, and the like. Click here for a list of specific questions to ask.
- Condition of the home: Of course you’ll know to inquire about the age and condition of the roof, appliances, HVAC system, plumbing, etc.—all the obvious big items, but think, too about checking into the need for window replacement and carefully observing the types, size, and location of trees on the property.
- The neighborhood: Although driving through an area or visiting a prospective home more than once can give you knowledge about the existence of sidewalks, adequate street parking, general yard maintenance, proper ground grading , adequate insulation condition of the foundation, and type of street lighting, your best bet for “insider” information will be gained by talking directly to neighbors. Be sure to inquire about the following topics:
*restrictive HOA requirements
*quality of schools
*nearby nuisance sites (trash dumps, e.g.)
*incidence 0f crime
*sense of community
Of course, you’ll also need to know recent comparable selling (and asking) prices in the neighborhood, length of time on the market before selling ,and current mortgage rates, information your REALTOR can readily supply.
Caveat: if you’re considering purchasing a condo, be advised that in addition to the questions suggested above, there are many other areas of consideration involved--and hence additional investigating required.