5 Often Overlooked Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home
When you’re buying a home, some questions are obvious–how much should you offer? When can you close? Other questions are less obvious but can be just as important. Here are 5 often overlooked questions when buying a home.
1. What is the property’s sales history?
When reviewing the property’s sales history, you’re looking for indications that the property has been difficult to sell in the past. You’re also looking to see if the property was ever considered distressed or was bank-owned. This information can give you more leverage at the negotiating table.
2. What contingencies are worth getting?
Contingencies are what allow a buyer to back out of a deal if there are problems with the property or during the transaction. Once you sign an offer letter on a home, that is a legally binding contract. You want to make sure you have the right contingencies to protect you in case there are problems. Typical contingencies include the results of the home inspection, the appraisal and the buyer being able to secure the mortgage. Check with your real estate agent if there are other contingencies it makes sense to add.
3. What are the market trends for the neighborhood?
For this question, you want to look at things such as whether home prices are going up or down, quality of local schools (even if you don’t have kids), parks, included amenities, planned development/new building in the area and proximity to necessary stores. You want to see a neighborhood that is growing and thriving and not one that is fading and dying.
4. Are there any upcoming special assessments for condo or HOA?
Assessments are special one-time payments beyond the monthly HOA fees that are typically used to cover large expenses, improvements or repairs for the complex or housing development. This could include things such as building a new playground, putting in a new pool, repairing or replacing gates and other large expenses that can’t be covered by the money from monthly dues. Some lenders will refuse to finance a home with an upcoming special assessment.
5. Would YOU buy this home?
It’s a fair question to ask your realtor if they would buy the home. They see a lot of homes in a lot of different conditions. Take their opinion into consideration and their reasons why or why not. It can provide you valuable insight on your potential new home.
Buying a home can be a complex transaction and process. Overlooking vital questions could cost you serious money and could even waste your time if the home you’re interested in can’t get financing due to issues with the home or the HOA. Keep this list of questions handy and talk them over with your real estate agent.