The 7 important questions you need to ask before you buy a house, including all the technical questions.
If you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter you’d know that we just spent this past weekend looking at several houses for sale. A few readers emailed me asking if I could share what we look out for and ask our realtor when we’re looking at buying a house.
Turns out this is also what my younger self needed to know as well. When it comes to buying a home I had no idea what to ask, all I knew was that buying a home was a good investment.
If you’re wondering, we’ve been through the buying and selling process three times, including a beautiful condo in downtown Toronto. So here’s our advice for future home buyers, hopefully making you more confident during the home buying process.
These are all the important questions you need to ask yourself, the realtor, mortgage broker, and the inspector before you buy a house.
Questions to Ask Before your Buy a House
1. Do I know of a realtor I can TRUST?
So you’re interested in buying a house? The first thing you should be doing is, finding a realtor you can trust. Over the years we’ve had our fair share of real estate agents who were just plain lazy.
You want somebody who will not only answer all your questions but will do everything they can to find the answer if there are things they don’t know. Plus you’ll want to know that they are finding a home that will meet all your must-haves, likes and avoid anything that isn’t a good investment…at least to the best of their abilities.
2. What’s my Budget?
I try to show up prepared for everything we do, and finding a home to buy is no different. Make sure you know exactly how much you can spend on a house. If you’re going with a mortgage it’s always important to make sure you can get it first, you wouldn’t believe how many people go into house hunting missing this step.
3. What are the closing costs, property taxes and utilities?
You’ll need to ask your realtor about the property tax, expected water bill, or furnace rental and take the closing costs into consideration when looking to buy a house. Plus, don’t forget to add the cost of hiring a home inspector, homeowners insurance and figure out how much utilities cost.
4. Am I Able to Look Beyond the Paint?
Look beyond the paint!! Our first house was a 1970’s fixer-upper and every single room was a different shade of easter. But I learned to pay attention to the structural parts of the house, like the foundation, support beams, attic, and cracks along the walls or foundation.
So rather than looking at the cosmetic stuff, things could easily be changed. You will want to pay special attention to the list I shared above because that will tell you if the house is worth the investment or not.
That particular house was resold in the same condition for thousands of dollars more than what we bought it for. We didn’t have to invest in any additions or major renovations to earn that income because the house itself was an example of a good investment.
5. Whats the neighbourhood like?
This brings me to the next question. What’s the neighborhood like? are the neighbors too close? are there schools nearby? is there waterfront access? these are key questions you need to ask before you buy a house.
An example of an issue we recently encountered was the neighbors had built a shed on the house that was for sale. An additional structure built on the property can spell trouble a mile away!
6. Can you see any water damage?
Check for water damage, specifically on the ceiling, along the walls, basement, flooring, and always look in the attic. Most of the time an inspection will tell you these things as well. But I would always suggest doing your own investigating especially when it comes to making a large purchase like a home.
7. Did I check the sub-pump?
The last house we just looked at was built in a swampy, low-lying area and I knew it would be an issue. When we looked in the back yard we could tell it was flooded. There was a spring melt and we could tell the sub-pump was running constantly. That tells us that this issue could potentially cost us a lot of money later on.
8. The rest of the details
When it comes to buying a house, is the area prone to a certain natural disaster? or are there any insurance claims you need to know about? Also, it’s a good idea to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage broker if there is any information or require you to follow any specific guidelines.
These are a few of the important things we need to think about when buying a house. But in my experience, this is where we often saw the most issues. If you can see cracks, water damage, roof issues it’s best to get a professional to look at it. Luckily, my dad has a lot of experience with buying homes over the years, so he knows exactly what to look for and how to keep the cost as low as possible.
There are of course more questions when it comes to a mortgage lender,
I really hope this list of questions helps with your house hunting journey. It hopefully gives you the knowledge to feel more confident when looking to buy a home.
Check out more of our home buying journey and home makeovers
Our Family’s House Hunting Edition