Buying a new house is a big decision – and sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s the right decision. When you’re walking through the house, ask yourself (and your spouse, your realtor, your parents, etc) for honest opinions.
Here are our top 5 questions to get you started:
What do you like about the house?
When you’re walking through the house, think about what is unique about the house. Consider your day-to-day life, and think about whether the home will function well for your needs. If you have small children, is the home easily child-proofed? If you host a large Thanksgiving dinner every year, is there enough space to gather with your loved ones? If you work from home, is there an area for you to have a functional office? What about the house do you like, and how will it function for you in your everyday life?
What concerns do you have?
It’s critical that you keep a list of concerns that you have about the home as you walk through it. You want to be aware of any potential flaws so that you can make an informed decision. Keep an eye open for potential issues like a lack of closet space, drafty windows (which could mean higher heating/cooling costs), old appliances (which could mean higher repair/replacement costs in the near future), etc. Ask your realtor for feedback, as well – your agent may notice things that you haven’t thought of!
Is it priced well?
Your realtor will be able to help you determine whether the asking price is appropriate. This will usually include comparing the home with recently sold similar homes in the area – you’ll be able to get a good feel for whether the home is overpriced, price fairly, or if it is priced low on purpose to create a bidding war. Having this kind of insight can help you to put in a competitive offer if you decide that this is the house for you.
How long has this house been on the market?
If a house has been listed for some time, many buyers assume that there must be something wrong with it – but this isn’t necessarily true. Oftentimes, it was simply originally listed at too high of a price, which may give you some bargaining power if you decide to make an offer. But if the home is a new listing, don’t expect the sellers to be willing to strike a deal. Your realtor will be able to help you sort out why a home may have been on the market for a period of time, and whether it’s something to worry about.
Does the house need repairs?
Take a close look at the overall age and condition of the house. It may have the most beautiful backyard you’ve ever seen, but if it needs a new roof or has a leaky basement, you’ll want to factor that in when you submit an offer. The sellers will disclose all known issues in the sale agreement, if not sooner, and you can write contingencies into your offer (such as the home passing inspection, or how to handle any issues that are found as a result of a home inspection). Also keep in mind any updates that you’ll want to make to the house, and factor that into your overall budget to decide whether this house is the one you want to purchase. If you want to gut the kitchen and bathrooms, for example, you’ll want to make sure that you will still have the budget for that once you’ve purchased the home.