Although your head will probably be in the clouds once you’ve found your dream
home, make sure to take the time to really think about the purchase. Here are 10
important questions to ask your real estate agent before you make an offer:
1. How long has the home been on the market? If the home is new
to the market, you may have to act fast. If the home has been on the market for
a while, that may be a sign that there are problems with the home.
2. Why are the owners selling? Although you’ll probably get one
of the usual answers—needing more space, a job relocation, etc.—a different
answer could be a red flag.
3. What is the sales history of the home? You’ll want to know
if the home was leased in the past or if it was ever a bank-owned property.
Also, as a general rule, the fewer number of owners, the better the overall
upkeep and maintenance.
4. Are there comparable sales in the neighborhood? By looking
at comparable sales in the area, you can get a good idea if the list price is
fair and get a good starting point for negotiations.
5. Is the home a good investment? The area around your new home
will be critical to how much your home rises (or declines) in value. Ask about
future development, such as shopping and transportation.
6. Are all of the systems in good shape? It’s important for you
to know if and when home systems will need to be repaired or replaced. Key areas
include heating and air conditioning, roofing, appliances, and electrical
7. What will the maintenance be like? Affording a new home
isn’t just about your monthly mortgage payments. Ask your experienced agent if
they think there are any high-cost maintenance areas that you may have to deal
8. Are there any noise concerns? Is there a highway close to
your new home? Is the home in an airport’s flight path? Is the home close to a
school, playground or heavily-used park?
9. What is included in the sale? Window treatments, lighting
fixtures, washers and dryers, sheds, and outdoor play equipment may or may not
be included in the sale, so make sure to check with your agent.
10. Is there anything else I should know about the home? The
seller will be required to disclose certain things—such as structural
problems—but ask this question in case you missed something such as a special
feature of the home, homeowners’ association regulations, etc.
A final bonus question: Ask your agent to ask the seller what they like most
about the home and the neighborhood. You’ll probably get an answer that will help
you enjoy your new home even more. ∆