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5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying a Home

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying a Home

Buying a home is a very exciting time! You get to choose the place that you will be living your life in, the place that you may raise your family and build great memories in.

While buying a home is a very exciting time, it can also be a very stressful time. So, when you've decided it's time to become a homeowner, it is important to make sure you are as prepared as possible. Doing so will not only save yourself a lot of time in the home searching process, but it will also save you from a stressful and, potentially, costly ordeal.

To help you out with this process, here are 5 important questions you should ask when searching for a home:

1. How should I start the home buying process?

When you begin the process of searching for a home to buy, you are going to be met with many questions. Do you want to buy an existing home or do you want to purchase land and build a new home? Which real estate brokerage and agent do you want to work with? Do you know the specific location that you want to live in? You'll want to consider all of these questions before moving forward. Having an idea of what you want (even if you still are unsure of some things) will only make the home buying process easier.

Once you know how you want to go about finding a home, you can then begin your search. Start by thinking about what you ultimately want in your new home, including size, features and location. Be sure to send your "want" list of your real estate agent, so he/she can compile a list of homes for you to review. If you want to get a jump-start, you can check out real estate search sites, including Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, that make it easy for consumers to see what is currently on the market.

2. Does the home's location fit my needs?

Once you've started narrowing down your search to a home or few homes that you are really interested in purchasing, you will want to start investigating the community. Some realtors like to say that there are three things to consider when buying a home: location, location, location.

This is a two-part question to ask. When you are looking at the location of a home, think about the long-term. Will this home still work for you in five years? How about ten years from now? You may not have children now, but if you plan on having them in the future it is smart to look at the local schools, as well as what the community has to offer as far as recreation, shopping, daycares, etc. Also, see how close you are to work and other amenities that are important to you.

The second part of the question concerns zoning regulations on the property. This will restrict the size of the home you have, improvements, new construction, even landscaping and pets. The seller or construction company may not have this information available, so be prepared to go to the city and look it up.

So, what happens when you've found the perfect community, but can't find a home for sale in it? Consider purchasing land and building a home on that land. You can also tell your real estate agent to keep an eye on the location and let you know as soon as something comes on the market. If it really is your perfect location, be willing to be patient while the development grows (again, we're not just thinking about the short-term here!).

3. What is the history of this home?

One of the most important questions to ask about a particular home is to find out the condition of the home itself. The seller and their listing agent may not be forthcoming with this information, so you must do your own homework. Having a home inspection will help you determine the home's condition and what necessary repairs it will need.

It is also very wise to have a title search completed on the property. The title search will show if there are any existing liens on the property that you would be responsible for if you purchased the home. Also, be sure to ask about title insurance to protect you against liens.

4. What are the expected costs associated with this purchase?

You should definitely get pre-approved before searching for a home. A pre-approval will let you know how much of a mortgage you qualify for, so you can determine the price range to look in.

However, homeowners often think of just the mortgage payment and forget to consider the other costs of home ownership. In order to properly budget for your home, be sure to ask your real estate agent about the following items:

  • Real Estate Fees
  • Closing Costs
  • Property Taxes
  • Local Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Estimated Utility Costs
  • New Appliances (ask if the seller will be taking or leaving the appliances)
  • HOA costs (if any)
  • Home and Yard Upkeep

Factor all of these into your budget, so that you are not caught off guard when the time comes to close on and live in your house.

5. Am I ready to commit to this?

Becoming a home owner is a big responsibility! So, before you sign a contract be sure this is something you really want. It may be wise to meet with a financial planner to discuss future budgeting. Also, you'll want to be sure the house you choose is right for you. Before you purchase, ask a close family member or friend to tour the house with you. He/she may notice things that you did not.

At the end of the day, you want to buy a new home that you will be happy with for many years to come. Doing your homework at the outset and asking the right questions will help ensure your contentment and happiness with your investment.


About the Author:

Nicole is currently in the process of searching for land to build a new home, so she knows how frustrating it can be to find a home that fits your needs.