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Questions to Ask When Buying a Home



There is a lot to do when buying a house, and you are bound to have a ton of questions throughout the entire process -- which is good! You should be asking questions to yourself, to your real estate agent, and to the seller of the home you are interested in buying. Questions guide you in the right direction, and when it comes to buying a house, no question is invalid.


Read on to find questions you should ask when considering to buy a home on the market.



What is your housing budget?

The first thing you should be asking yourself before you start buying is whether or not you can afford it. Make sure you know what your budget is before you go in to get pre-approved for a mortgage so that you won’t end up with a monthly mortgage that you can afford. A general rule of thumb is to not take mortgage payments that are more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay so that you don’t end up over-extending yourself.



How much should you save for a down payment and closing costs?

Figuring out your down payment is a huge decision that impacts how much you will be spending on your mortgage and how long you will be paying it off. It is best to put down as much money as you can to avoid getting a large monthly mortgage. It is good to aim for putting down at least 20%. This way you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance. However, if 20% is not possible for you, at least try to put down 10%.


Another expense to budget for before buying your home is the closing costs. These can be about 2-5% of the home’s purchase price. Set yourself up for the most financial success by saving up for both the down payment and closing costs before you decide to buy.



Why is the home being sold?

There are a number of reasons why people could be selling their home such as job relocation, wanting to get a smaller or larger house, or retirement. This is a good question to ask the seller of the home you are looking at because it helps you to determine how much room there is for negotiation of price. For example, the seller might be willing to accept a lower offer if they are trying to sell the house quickly. On the other hand, if they are in no hurry to sell, they may not be as open to adjusting their price.



How long has the home been on the market?


This is a good question to ask when you have your sights set on a particular home. A home could be on the market for a long time for several reasons but one of the main ones is that it was priced too high when it was first listed. Regardless of the reason the home has been on the market for a long time, it is harder to sell because buyers start to think something is wrong with the property. However, if a home has been on the market for a long time, the seller might be more willing to negotiate their price so this is a beneficial question for buyers to ask.



What are similar homes selling for?

Your real estate agent can help you figure out what similar homes in the area are selling for and how their prices compare to the homes you are looking to buy. The comparative market analysis compares the value of similar homes and could be very useful to you as a buyer because it helps you to see if the home you are looking at is being sold at a fair price.



What is included in the sale?

Generally, anything that is permanently attached to a home such as faucets, cabinets, and window blinds are included in a sale. However, states have different laws about what should be included in a home sale so when you go to tour a home, do not make the assumption that you are going to be keeping everything. Features such as outdoor play equipment, light fixtures, and appliances may or may not be included in the sale so if you see something you like, ask about it so that you don’t end up disappointed in the end.



Are there any problems with the house?

Finding out if there are any major problems with the house before closing on the sale is critical to make sure that you are not inheriting expensive issues that you will have to deal with later. In addition to asking about these things, you should also make sure to get an inspection of the home before signing the final contract to get a professional determination of the condition of the home.


Usually, a seller will provide a disclosure statement that gives notice about the condition of the home, but you as the buyer should still still be asking these questions. Find out how old features such as the roof, appliances, HVAC system, washer/dryer, and refrigerator are before you make your bid on the home. Also be aware of whether the house is prone to hazards such as flooding beforehand so that you will know exactly what to expect if you choose to buy.



What is the local neighborhood like?


Getting as much information as possible about the surrounding neighborhood is just as important as finding out about the house itself.


Some questions you should ask include:


  • What are the neighbors like?

  • Is the area safe for kids to play?

  • Is there any crime?

  • Are there loud dogs?

  • What is the traffic like in the surrounding area?


Be sure to find out what the local school system is like as well. If you have kids or plan to have them while living in the home, the quality of the schools and distance from the new home will be a priority. Even if you don’t plan to have kids, this is an important factor to pay attention to because the local school system could make an impact when it comes time for you to sell the home.



Ready to Buy in Houston?

If you’ve read this entire article, then you are serious about buying. Contact Keith E. Ford at 832-788-7037 to learn more about buying in Houston!


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