When looking for a home, you’ll naturally have many questions to ask your Realtor®. However, every homebuyer should ask a couple of questions when looking at real estate properties.
Let’s examine what they are and what these questions can tell you about the house you’re looking at.
How Old is the Roof?
If you’re moving into a home with an old roof, you might have to replace it soon, which might cost a bit more money. And that can cost $5,500 up to $12,000.
The average roof will last around 20 years. But the life expectancy of a roof depends the quality and durability of the roofing material chosen. Climate and natural disasters can impact a roof’s lifespan too.
Here is a summary of roofing materials and their expected lifespan:
- three-tab asphalt shingles 25 years
- wood shingle roof 30 years
- clay tile roof 50 years
- metal roofs 20 to 70 years depending on quality (e.g., thickness)
- slate roofs last up to 100 years
Have There Been Any Additions or Renovations?
Suppose the home your considering has had renovations or additons to the floor plan. In that case, you’ll want to ask some additional questions.
You will want to also ask about any warranties with those renovations. After all, if a part of the home’s newly-renovated kitchen breaks when you first move in, you’ll want to have a warranty to ensure the repair cost is covered.
You’ll also need to read the home inspection report carefully. You want to ensure the renovations or additions aren’t covering up any underlying issues the home might have.
Changes are, the home inspector will pull permits or ask the seller to provide documentation of recent additions. And major improvements will generally surface during a title search. The key consideration here is determining whether the work was permitted or unpermitted. Your agent can help you navigate the complexities of unpermitted additions.
What is the Risk of Natural Disasters?
You’ll want to know the risks of any natural disasters before moving to a new area, especially one unfamiliar. The primary reason is why is insurance.
Insuring your home for multiple natural disasters can cost a lot of money, which you must consider before purchasing a real estate property.
How Much Will I Pay in Closing Costs?
Generally, closing costs are about 2 to 5% of the home’s sales price. Most closing costs fall on the buyer, but the seller also pays some closing costs. In a buyer’s market, buyers can also ask sellers to pay some of their closing costs. When this occurs, it is called a seller concession.
You’ll pay many fees in the closing costs, ranging from loan origination fees to attorney fees.
You may end up paying for closing cost out of pocket or roll them onto your mortgage if your lender is alright with you doing that.
How Is the Neighborhood?
You might find a great home, but it might not be in the right neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to ask your Realtor® to provide information like crime statistics, community amenities, and school ratings.
Remember, you’re not just buying a home; you’re also paying to be part of a local community.
How Old are Appliances and Mechanical Systems?
This is another excellent question to ask. Replacements cost can add up quickly. Plus, as appliances get older, they tend to be less efficient or can break down easily.
Suppose you’re moving into a home with older appliances. In that case, you’ll also want to calculate the cost of replacing those appliances when considering the property.
What are the Costs of Utilities?
You’ll want to know how much the cost of utilities is in the house you’re considering. As the common saying goes, “you want the house. You don’t want the house to own you.”
Ask about the A/C, heating, electricity, and water. And don’t forget about HOA fees, if applicable.
What’s Included in the Sale?
Many people don’t realize some homes don’t include major appliances like dryers, washers, or stoves. And that’ll catch you off-guard on move-in day. Luckily, the seller’s disclosure will help prevent this surprise.
So make sure you ask your Realtor® to review the seller’s disclosure. And be sure to hang onto the disclosure form, as it is a legally binding document to protect you.
Ask Any Questions You Might Have
And that’s our list. Don’t limit yourself to just these questions. Remember to ask your real estate agent about any concerns about the properties you are looking at.