Buying a new home, whether it’s your first or one of many, is an exciting, but stressful, time. It can mean an expanded family, a new beginning or a new town. While there may be a checklist of must-haves that you reference while looking, there are some other important questions to ask yourself while shopping for a new home.
- How long has this home been on the market? While there is a chance you may be getting lucky, a house that has been sitting on the market is often a bad sign. This may mean that the asking price is too high with very little wiggle room or that the property or owners have issues when it comes to going all the way through with a sale.
- What are nearby comps worth? This is especially important if you are changing towns. Knowing what homes nearby go for is relative. The time, square footage and area all plays into the overall worth of a home, and something that may be worth more in a different area can be different with the slightest of changes. Make sure you’re not jumping the gun and accepting a price that may be able to come down based on some defining factors.
- Can I read the most recent home inspection? These days, many sellers know that it may be asked of them to get an inspection before a purchase is made, but what you truly want is to read the inspection before even putting an offer down (if possible). Not only do you want to hear about the inspection, but you want to read it. Take a look at things that are fixable, things that are going to add a large amount of cost to the purchase and things that are red flags that you want to learn more about. The more informed you are, the more likely you are to get a fair price.
- Do you have the paperwork for the mechanical systems? This is important even if everything in the home is brand new. What happens when the air conditioner breaks? You’ll want to be able to know who to go to for repairs of all systems, and it’s also extremely helpful to be able to know how old each system is, which can give a little more leverage in negotiations as well.
- Do surrounding schools have restrictive boundaries? If you have or are planning to have children, knowing the school system around you is important. Many districts are now fluid in who can attend based on neighborhood and zip code, but many (especially towns with multiple public schools) still want to base attendance on neighborhood locale.
- What are the city parameters on add-ons and remodels? Planning on making adjustments in the future years of your new dwelling? Make sure you won’t be stopped from building upward or outward based on city permit and building restrictions. Sometimes there are hard lines drawn for how houses present themselves in certain neighborhoods, and if you purchase with the idea in mind that you’ll eventually change your home, this is an important question to ask.
Buying a home can be a very rewarding process. Make sure that you have all of the information you need and you gather all of the facts, and your new place will feel even more enjoyable!