Buying a home is about the largest single investment you’ll ever make, and you should spend a lot of time investigating the perfect house for your family. Once you buy the home, you can’t return it like a pair of shoes! Thus, be sure to get answers to questions that will give you peace of mind in your purchase. Your realtor should have the experience to navigate you through the due diligence.
Why is the house for sale: You may not get the real reason why. There are many reasons why people move, including job relocation, desire to get into a smaller/larger house, life events (marriage, the birth of a child, death of a spouse, or other reason), and retirement. But, if you can get an answer it might help in the negotiation of price. It might come in handy to have a local realtor on your team that knows how to find out this information.
How long has the home been on the market? If the house has been on the market for a long time, it might open up the opportunity to negotiate price and terms. Be aware that the home may have been relisted. Buyers tend to favor the newer listing, so some sellers relist to make the home look fresh on the market. Again, your realtor should know these very important details, and if not she will know how to find them.
How old is the roof? A roof generally lasts between 15 and 50 years, depending on its materials. If you know how old the roof is, and what type is, you will better be able to determine how long it will last and calculate that into your offer price. Have your realtor request documentation regarding when the roof was last repaired or replaced and exactly what was done. If you buy a home with a roof that has been damaged or if an issue was neglected or at the end of its lifespan you could end up with a pretty expensive bill soon after you buy the house.
What was the previous selling price? If you know how much the seller paid for the home you will be able to see the value of the local market that the home is in – has it gone up or down? If they paid a lower price, they may be willing to negotiate. If they bought it close to what they are asking for, they most likely won’t budge. Furthermore, knowing the sales history can inform you of whether the property was transferred to a spouse or relative, if the home had been foreclosed on, and if the home was part of a short sale. Make the most rational decision by learning all that you can about the home.
Is there radon in the home? Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that’s found in about 1 in every 15 homes. Most Realtors will tell buyers to get a test done. If the home is found to have it, it will be safe to live in once the radon remediation occurs.
How is the school system? This really matters even if you don’t have children. The quality and rating of the school system affect the value of your home. The next buyers may have kids and you want to make a profit when the time comes to sell. Families will zero in on homes in the finest and strongest public school districts. Living among one will give you the advantage.
Has there ever been a pipe burst? A good inspector usually can tell if water damage has occurred, and any damage should be disclosed by the previous owner at the time of sale. The big problem from water damage is moisture problems we are unable to see, behind drywall and trim which leads to mold. A mold remediation professional can tell you if mold is present and how to remove it.
Any signs of pests? Another disclosure should be made by the owners at the time of the sale. Even if they had a past infestation and dealt with it and can offer proof, such as a receipt for pest control it doesn’t mean the pests are gone for good. Whatever conditions made the home ripe for infestation- a slow leak under the house, rotting wood, or even a total neighborhood situation, get the answers with help from your Realtor.
There are many more investigative questions to ask and hopefully, you have the perfect Realtor that will do a search for all the answers to any questions you may have. Nothing is off limits – this is your investment.
- Are there sex offenders in the neighborhood?
- What is the slope of the driveway?
- How old are the appliances?
- How many offers have been made?
- What type of foundation?
- What is included in the sale?
- Are there any neighborhood nuisances?
- Any lead paint?
The Bottom Line: The realtor you choose to work with should provide you with any questions you need answered. There are so many decisions to make and it’s hard to know what you should be looking for. Be confident when you make the offer by knowing what exactly you are getting into.