When you fall in love with a house, it can be hard to not make a rash decision without completely weighing the pros and cons. Maybe the house is located in the perfect neighborhood, or in your ideal school district for your kids, but that isn’t the only important thing! You don’t want to get stuck with a house packed full of costly “surprises” after you move in.
This “perfect” house of yours might actually end up being the nightmare you wished you never purchased. So what should you do to protect yourself from any issues? It’s all about being informed and asking the right questions.
1) How old is the roof?
Roof replacement is expensive, you don’t want to buy a house and then get hit with a huge roof upgrade cost. Ask the sellers how old the roof is and make sure to have the home inspector check for any damage or wear. If the house needs a new roof, you might want to ask the sellers in your offer if they will cover the cost of it.
2) Have there been any infestations of termites, carpenter ants or other pests?
The last thing you want to do is move into your new home and then realize you have new roommates you weren’t expecting. Knowing the infestation history will tell you if you need to prepare your house for residual damage or to be prepared to fight off a repeat infestation.
3) Any Pets buried in the backyard?
Seems like a weird thing to ask, but it’s always better to know. You don’t want to go digging up the garden bed to plant some flowers for spring and uncover someone’s old pet. Sometimes, it’s just better to know what you are getting into.
4) Any paranormal or nefarious activity?
While this might be a plus for some people- most people aren’t looking to live in a house where someone was murdered or there are reported paranormal activity problems. Check with the sellers and their realtor, you don’t want to wake up with the ghost of someone’s grandma standing over you.
5) Has the sewer/cesspool ever backed up? When was the last time it was pumped?
Are you walking into a potential plumbing disaster? Talk to the seller about whether or not they have had issues with plumbing in the past. If they have a cesspool, ask when the last time it was pumped was? Getting it pumped is inexpensive, so if the seller hasn’t done it in a while- it’s better to be safe than sorry. You also want to know about any serious plumbing issues before you buy house. If the seller says they have had problems in the past, make sure to have a home inspector check out the plumbing. If there are serious issues, you can always walk away from the deal or ask the sellers to fix them.
6) Do you have Documentation for HVAC equipment and other home appliances?
If the seller has all this information- it will make it easy for you if you ever need maintenance on it. Having the warranty information is the difference between having to pay for a repair, or getting it done for free.
7) How Flexible is the seller on price?
It’s never a bad idea to ask the seller’s realtor how flexible they might be on price. You want to make sure that if you are putting an offer in on a house, you aren’t going to put in a low ball offer that completely offends them. You can get a good feeling about how the sellers will react to your offer based on what their realtor says.
8) Are there any foreclosures in the neighborhood?
Foreclosures can affect your price and the value of the neighborhood. It is always best to know what is going on in the neighborhood, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
9) What condition are the windows in?
Windows can be an expensive fix, but old windows could mean that your house is full of a lot of noise from outside and more expensive heating and cooling costs due to air loss. Have the home inspector check out the windows and talk to the sellers about when the windows were installed.
A lot of factors go into finding the perfect home, but it’s out there somewhere. Just keep looking!