A house is an expensive purchase, but most people spend 25 minutes or less viewing one before they decide to buy it. To ensure you stay informed through the buying process, here are some must ask questions when home shopping to keep in mind.
1. How many days has it been on the market?
Time on the market is a good indication of how popular the property is. If the home has been on the market for over six months, you need to figure out why that is. Is the layout unappealing? Is the kitchen too cramped? Does it require significant repair work? Is the price too high?
2. Has there been any renovation work done?
A property inspection is crucial if an agent confirms that there have been renovations. The review will ensure that building compliance codes have met and the quality of the work confirmed. Neglect this step, and you could end up paying a lot more money down the track to fix shoddy quality.
3. Which way does the property face?
It’s easy to get excited about a house and forget to think about the fundamentals. Like which way does it face and does it get any sun? Check that the rooms you’ll use the most face south as you’ll enjoy a warmer house, and less money spent on heating in winter.
4. How old are the major appliances?
It is always a good idea to learn how recent the significant appliances were updated because these can be spendy to replace and if possible it would be great to avoid a broken HVAC system a couple of month after purchasing.
5. How old is the roof?
Roof age is critical in a four-season climate like Minnesota. An old leaky roof can be costly to replace or repair.
6. What’s the neighborhood like?
If the agent is a local, then they’ll have a good grasp of the amenities, schools, and transport links the neighborhood offers. But don’t rely solely on their information. Do your independent research on the area’s crime rates and check out the restaurants, cafes and entertainment options on offer.
7. What is included in the sale?
It’s a good idea to find out precisely what is and what is not included in the sale of a property. Is it being sold partly or fully furnished? Is the garden shed covered?
8. Have there been any offers?
Ask the agent if the property has had any offers. They should be able to tell you if there’s an offer on the table, but they probably won’t disclose the amount. If there are no pending offers, then the seller is likely very open to you making one.
9. Have the owners bought somewhere else?
If so they’ll be keen to sell as quickly as possible, and open to negotiation on price. If they’re selling before they buy, then you may have a long wait while they house hunt themselves. The fewer people there are involved in the buying/selling chain, the less stress you’ll have with your buying experience.
10. How much does it cost to run?
Even if a house seems cheap, it may not be if it has high property tax and utility bills. It pays to get the exact amounts of the running costs, so you know what you’ll pay to live there. The agent should have these figures to hand so you can crunch the numbers later. Finding a house you love is great, but affordability is essential too.
We hope these questions help you figure out what to look for in a home and make the process slightly less daunting. Have a second or third viewing if you need more time to decide, the more information you can obtain about a property the better. Remember this is the most expensive decision you’ll make in your life!