Buying a new house can be scary. There are so many things to consider when looking at a potential new house, and one missed step or one question that goes unasked can turn out to be a major disaster.
When we purchased our current home we asked everything we could think of, we looked at it three times before making an offer, and visited it at different times of the day making sure to check out the area each time. Here are some of the questions that you should ask the seller before considering making an offer on any house.
You will want to ask how old the roof currently is, along with how many layers of shingles there are currently on the roof, and if there are any leaks. Not only will this let you know if you are going to be needing to repair or replace the roof in the near future but your insurance company will ask these questions when you try to get insurance on the home. If the roof is too old or has too many layers of shingles on the roof it can cause the insurance company to not offer you insurance coverage on the home or may cause them to not fully cover the roof if a disaster strikes.
Are there any current pest issues or is there any evidence of past pest issues? This includes insects, termites, and rodents. If there is currently a pest issue find out how long it has been going on, and what steps have been taken to rid it. If there was a past issue be sure to find out what it was, and when it occurred.
Water and Sewer
You will want to find out if the home is on city water or on a well system. If the home is on a well you may have a hard time finding financing for the home, as FHA will not allow you to purchase a home on a well. You will also want to know if the home is hooked up to the city sewer system or is on a septic tank. If it is on the sewer system you will want to find out how the sewer bill is figured, and how much it typically costs the home owner each month. If the home is on a septic tank you will want to find out if there have been any issues with the septic tank and how often it has been serviced. You will also want to make sure that you find the location of the septic tank.
Great neighbors can make a house a great place to be, while horrible neighbors will make you dread coming home each day. Make sure that you ask the current homeowners about the neighbors. Are there loud parties in the area, does the next door neighbor have teenagers running in and out of their house all day? Also be sure to ask what type of pets they have. Do they have a rooster that crows in the morning, a large Saint Bernard that barks at everything that it sees and the neighbors are scared of? You will also want to check your local sex offender registry and crime reports of the area, both of these can generally be found online or you can get them at your local sheriff’s office, to get an idea of what the crime in the area is like.
Does everything stay?
Having the conversation about what stays before making an offer on the house can prevent a lot of misunderstanding later. Make sure that you put into the contract everything that will stay. This includes everything from the hot tub and/or pool to the dog kennel and stove.
Heating and Air System
Be sure to ask about the heating and air system. You will want to find out how old it is, whether or not it is gas or electric, along with how much it typically costs to heat and cool the house each year. You will also want to ask how often the system has been serviced, when the last repairs were made and what they were, along with who repaired it.
While we are on the subject of repairs, you will want to inquire about recent repairs that were made to the house, and who did them. Was a licensed repairman used, or was it a do it yourself project? If the repairs were done by the homeowners themselves you will want to have the repairs checked out, as someone who is not licensed may not have done them correctly, which could cost you more to have them repaired correctly.
Hot Water Heater
As with the heating and air system you will want to inquire about the age of the hot water heater, along with whether or not it is gas or electric. You will also want to find out what the size of it is, and compare that to the size of the house. You will want to make sure that the hot water heater is an appropriate size in comparison to the size of the house.
Why are they moving?
Believe it or not this might just be the most important question that you ask. Are they moving because the commute to their work is brutal, and you work in the same area? Is the upkeep on the house just too much? There answer here could be a key to whether or not the house will work for you.