You’ve decided it’s time to buy a home, found a great team of experts to help you, qualified for the perfect home loan for you, and now comes the fun part, finding a great home! It’s easy to be overwhelmed at this stage and jump quickly on an available home so you can start living your dream.
The mortgage experts at EPM want you to go into this opportunity with your eyes open, so we developed a short list of questions you may want to ask before making that offer. Other questions may come up for you to add to this list, but here are 7 questions to ask to jump-start your inquiry before you purchase a home.
Have there been recent renovations, and what are they?
A lot of sellers will make modifications and upgrades before selling to increase the value of the home. That’s a win-win for everybody. But occasionally, they will try to cover up a bigger problem, which could mean more expenses for you down the line. If things have been replaced due to moisture, rotting, or harmful materials, get all the information first to make sure the problem was fully addressed, and the current homeowners didn’t just put a band-aid over a bullet hole.
Is there an HOA and an updated list of covenants/CC&Rs?
Our last blog post answers many questions you may have about HOAs, but you’ll want to know the specifics if you are moving into a community with one. Make sure you know the current regulations and double-check to make sure the amenities promoted are still available. It’s not unheard of for families to move into a neighborhood that touts a pool or weight room that is no longer available, or the regulations have changed or have not been enforced. Make sure you do your due diligence before you move to make sure you’re informed.
How old is the roof, windows, appliances, water heater, etc.… and is there a home warranty available?
This is a 2 parter- first, you want to know what already exists in the home, and second, you want to know you’re covered if one or more of those items fails. Sometimes a seller will include a one-year home warranty in the purchase, but you can also look into getting a home warranty on your own that will potentially save you thousands down the road.
What is ventilation like?
Check the bathrooms and basements for ventilation – if either of these rooms are damp or humid, this could indicate or create a dangerous mold and mildew issue. Ask about ventilation systems throughout the home. You could have a comfortable first level, but in the summer, ventilation doesn’t reach a specific area or floor of the home, making it hot and uncomfortable in summer and chilly in the winter.
Has it been tested for radon?
There are certain areas of the country with higher radon levels – a colorless odorless gas in all homes. At high levels, there are dangerous levels of radiation known to cause lung cancer. Check out the EPA website for more information and know what to ask about your home.
How do local schools rank?
This isn’t just important for families with children. In areas where schools rank higher, the value of the homes tends to be higher. People tend to leave areas with low-ranking schools, which could deteriorate the value of your community over time.
What does the neighborhood look like?
As you drive through, check out lighting, whether there are sidewalks, if neighbors are keeping their yard landscaped and tidy, or if there is overgrowth and/or old vehicles/trailers/ junk in the yard. Take heed of noise from traffic or if you’re near an airport or railroad tracks. Consider driving through at night to see if it feels safe.
Hopefully, this list is a good start to knowing some of the questions you may not have thought to ask. Ready to start looking for that dream home?