So many questions to ask when buying a house: your agent will help you
Nowadays lots of people are thinking of buying a house, being fully convinced this is a good investment that will certainly pay off in the future. Owning real estate is a really good thing, but the purchasing process itself may not be so easy, as very often people face various problems due to lack of knowledge. Understandably, every buyer wants to find an ideal house, but a variety of options makes people feel overwhelmed and frustrated (especially if you are buying a house for the first time). Finding the right home is not an easy task, so you should be fully prepared for all challenges you may face. So, it's better to get to know modern real estate trends and tendencies before starting house hunting. Sometimes people fall in love with the property and buy it immediately, being unaware of its characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. There are many questions you should ask your real estate agent before rushing into homeownership to avoid problems in the future. Buying a house is complicated, but you can avoid any problems by asking your agent the right questions. To make it easier for you to understand what is better to pay attention to, we have conducted a list of questions to ask the real estate agent before buying a house.
How much I will have to pay?
In the process of purchasing a new construction house, many people face an unpleasant reality of paying much more than they expected. Inexperienced home buyers are convinced that the sticker price of the house price is the actual amount they will pay, but this is fully wrong. Let's have a look at what will be included in the total cost of a new construction house you are going to buy:
- the property itself;
- home inspection;
- mortgage insurance;
- mortgage interest;
- homeowners insurance;
- various taxes;
- HOA fees (optional).
Some of these are negotiable, and some are not. Your agent can help you negotiate the price (if it's possible) for you to pay less. To understand whether the game is worth the candle, ask yourself what your long-term plans for the home are. Your plans may be a crucial factor when choosing a mortgage, so consider it with all due responsibility.
What mortgage will suit my needs?
There are many mortgage loan types, and the best and easiest way to choose the suitable one is to consult your agent. The mortgage you choose depends on how much you are ready to spend on the down payment (usually, it's about 20% of total property value), and for how long you are going to live in the house. Make sure you can afford what you have selected not to be sorry about it afterward. So, if you are thinking of buying a $400,000 new construction home, it's better to be ready to pay from $40,000 to $70,000 as a down payment.
How long has the property been on the market?
A professional can tell you a lot just from finding out how long this or that property has been on the market. If a home sits on the market for too long, something may be wrong with it, so ask your agent this question first of all to understand what you are dealing with. In fact, the reasons for low demand may be different but check it twice not to be unpleasantly surprised afterward.
What about the developer?
Ask your agent to tell you more about a real estate developer (or several) you are interested in. It may be interesting for you to have a look at other developments of the company, so you can browse our iNew-Homes website to have a look at various home builders/developers and their buildings. It's better to check the company's reputation to be sure it is a reliable one.
What are the natural disasters I may face living in the house?
If the property you are considering buying is located in a dangerous area (flood zone, etc.), you will have to spend more on insurance. There is a FEMA’s Flood Map Service which can help you to clarify whether the home you are interested in is in the flood zone. It also depends on the region, for example choosing a home in California you should be ready for earthquakes, so earthquake insurance is essential.
What about the location?
The location is a very important factor that will certainly influence your life in the house. Besides, it also influences the price, so ask your agent to find the location that would suit your needs and lifestyle. On the iNew-Homes website, you can also find lots of up-to-date information about neighborhoods, so it may help you greatly if you are going to research.
Are there any safety hazards?
Buying a house, one should also pay attention to such things, as lead paint, mold, radon, and so on, as those are dangerous for your health. So, ask the agent if there are any problems of that kind and call a home inspector if hesitating. It will cost you some more money, but you will be sure you are safe.
Are there any problems with a house?
If there are any defects, you should be informed about it first of all. There is a variety of problems people face because of saving money on a house inspection, so it's of huge importance to get an inspection done, as only a professional can say for sure if everything is good with the house.
It's essential to ask your real estate agent to tell you about such things, as roof, foundation, insulation. So, let's have a more detailed look at why these elements are worth paying attention to.
- Roof. Everybody knows that the roof should be replaced in 10-50 years or even more. It depends on the roof material how often you'll have to do it, so if you don't want to spend extra money on maintenance, it's better to clarify it in advance.
- Insulation. If the climate is cold in the region you have chosen, insulation is important in the extreme. It will also influence your utility bills, so this factor is certainly an important one.
- Foundation. Choosing a house, people run into two types of foundations: raised and slab. Slab foundations are more common in new construction houses, so ask your agent how the foundation type will influence your life. Besides, ask your house inspector to pay attention to any foundation defects (like cracks, etc.).
Is the house energy efficient?
An energy-efficient home will save lots of money. Nowadays there are many energy-efficient heating systems, windows, light bulbs, as well as smart home thermostats. Having selected an energy-efficient home, you will have to spend less on utilities. Insulation is another factor influencing the energy efficiency of the house.
How is the neighborhood?
The neighborhood is one of the most important questions in our checklist, as you will be able to change everything in your house, but it will be impossible to change your neighborhood, with all its traditions and peculiarities. It's especially important if you are going to live for many years in the house. Your agent will gladly help you to find out the pros and cons of the neighborhood you are interested in, making it easier for you to decide either it's good or not. Another aspect you should check is local recreational facilities, parks, shopping malls, and so on.
If you are a nature lover, it will be difficult for you to live in the heart of the city, and if you are into vibrant nightlife and big city's hustle and bustle, the place off the beaten track may not be good for you. Besides, don't forget to check the time it will take you to get to work.
What are the schools like?
The quality of the school district and the convenience to schools are very important factors you should consider choosing a neighborhood (especially if you have children). So, it's better to check school ratings to get to know whether educational opportunities are satisfactory in the neighborhood. Either you already have children or are planning to have kids, proximity to schools is a big deal. Besides, if you are planning to sell the house in several years, the proximity to notable schools will certainly add to the house price.
What about the neighbors?
Every neighborhood has a unique atmosphere, and people residing in the neighborhood is one of the main factors influencing it. It would be great to talk to neighbors and ask them what you are interested in, but if it's impossible, ask your agent about your potential neighbors. Are they noisy or quiet? Is the neighborhood pet-friendly? How friendly are the neighbors? We recommend you to have a look at the neighborhood you are interested in with your own eyes and have a chat with people residing there, as it can help you greatly.
What are the future plans for this neighborhood?
Sometimes people buy a house in a neighborhood they like, and in several years sell in, because the neighborhood has changed. So, it's better to ask your agent in advance if there are any plans that could affect the neighborhood greatly. A little research can help you to avoid a disaster, so don't neglect it.
How much I will have to spend on utilities?
Before rushing into homeownership, ask your real estate agent how much you will have to pay monthly for heating, cooling, recycling, electricity, the Internet, and so on. The sum of money you will be obliged to pay depends on a variety of factors, like the square footage of your house, its energy efficiency, its condition in general, and so on. So, it's better to make sure it will fit into your budget.
Are there any rules or regulations?
It's also a great idea to ask your agent or even seller if there are any homeowners association rules. Even if there is no association, the rules may be set by a home builder/developer. For example, you may not be allowed to use some fencing or install anything in your backyard. So, it's better to make sure you agree with the rules in advance.
Before you decide to cooperate with an agent
A real estate agent is the person you will be cooperating with during the entire home buying process, so it's important to be sure the person is a professional. There are several questions you may ask to make sure you are cooperating with the right person who understands all your needs and is able to help you:
- How long have you been an agent?
- How many homes have you sold?
- Do you work full-time?
- How many clients do you usually have?
- Can you show me your real estate license?
- Do you have any people ready to recommend you?
- Have you ever worked in the neighborhood I'm interested in?
- Can you explain the entire home buying process?
These simple questions may help you realize who is who, so don't rely solely on the agent's words, talk to his/her previous clients, if possible, and ask them what you are interested in.
As you can see, buying a new construction house is both complicated and exciting, so follow our checklist and ask the right questions to make this process easier. There are many factors you should consider, so cooperation with an experienced and qualified professional is essential. Our iNew-Homes website is a powerful tool that can help you find the property of your dream. On the website, you can choose different filters, like price, developer, neighborhood, and so on, so it will be super easy to find something to suit your needs.