When you find that perfect house, it’s easy to jump into making an offer to keep someone else from swooping in and taking it out from under you. However, it is well worth it to take the time to ask these questions before buying a new home.
- How are the windows? Often times we go through a home looking at everything but the windows. Windows are windows, right? Think again! Not checking the condition of the windows could be a costly mistake. Make sure the windows are sealed properly and not letting in a draft, that they will stay shut, and that there is no chipping of paint. Replacing windows can cost thousands of dollars. You don’t want that unexpected expense after closing.
- How old is the roof? The roof is another price tag that will easily climb up into the thousands. Roofs need to be replaced. How often depends on the original quality, type of material it is composed of, and the weather conditions. If you do buy a home with a fairly old roof, make sure you budget for the replacement so you aren’t caught off guard.
- Are there any trees of concern? A bad storm can uproot or split any tree. Make sure you notice any tree hazards and get a quote for them to be taken care of before it’s too late. Tree cutting and removal probably won’t reach the price of a roof or replacing a whole house of windows, but it is something you will need to consider. Not addressing the tree issue before there is a problem could result in having to pay for tree service and a new roof if a storm were to cause one to fall on the house. Of course, hazardous trees are not the only ones to pay attention to. Maybe you have a tree blocking a view or shading an area you wish to be exposed to sunlight. All are good reasons to take close inventory of the trees in the yard before making a deal on a house.
- Does the house have a pest problem…or worse…an infestation? Check to see if the current homeowners have been paying for pest services. You would hate to move in to a new home only to discover ants, roaches or mice were making their homes in some or even all of the rooms! There are warning signs you can look for in cabinets and corners. Don’t be afraid to look behind the refrigerator and under the stove for anything a rodent may have “left behind”.
- Are there sidewalks? You may not care about having a sidewalk, but your kids probably do! Living on a busy street without sidewalks would limit where they can ride their bikes or scooters. If you are a jogger, it will effect you as well. Be sure you aren’t so focused on the home that you forget to check out the other aspects of the neighborhood.
- Are there TOO many upgrades to be tackled? You may one that loves to tackle a good fixer-upper. When you look at a house, you see potential for some amazing DIY projects in your future. Keep in mind how much of your time is already taken up by work, kids, and other activities. Be sure not to take on a house that will consume too much of your time or money. Projects always seem to cost a little more than expected and take more time than planned.
- What is the slope of the yard around the foundation? Check around the foundation to see whether the yard slopes toward or away from the house. If the yard is not properly graded to allow water to drain away from the house, there could be a risk for water damage or even flooding. If you notice the slope is toward the house, get an estimate from a professional before making any decisions on the home. You may need to rethink your offer to budget for the expense of rectifying the grading situation.
- What are the neighbors like? Make sure to meet the neighbors before you finalize your decision. No one wants to move into a house with unfriendly neighbors. You don’t have to be best friends, but make sure you can at least tolerate living next to each other for years to come.
- Have you checked on utilities? There is no reason to be shocked when you get the first utility bill in the mail. Ask to see previous bills from the current homeowner. Keep in mind that you may use a little more or a little less, but you can get an idea of what it will cost you.
Not taking your time and carefully considering your big purchase could result in financial and emotional stresses later on. Buying a home is not a decision to make spur of the moment. Take your time and make a decision that you will not regret in the future.