Buying a house is an exciting, yet stressful time. You’re looking at hundreds of houses, trying to find the one that suits your needs the best. Even when you find one you like, there’s always that little fear of wondering if you made the right choice. So, here are the best questions to ask when buying a house, to ensure you make the right choice.
The Best Questions To Ask When Buying A House
Alright, now let’s get into the questions! Some of these questions are for the sellers, and some are for your real estate agent.
1. How long has the property been on the market?
If a house has been listed for a long time and still hasn’t been sold, there’s a chance there’s a reason for it. So if your real estate agent tells you it has been on the market for more than 3 months, ask them if they know the reason. Maybe other potential buyers saw a problem you haven’t noticed yet. Perhaps the house is going for more than other houses in the neighborhood, and the price should be lower.
Sometimes a long time on the market could be a red flag, but maybe you just need to negotiate the price better than the others have. If there are no actual problems with the house, and it hasn’t been sold for a long time just because of the price, that could work in your favor. The sellers likely want to sell it soon, so if they haven’t been able to do it yet because of the price, they might be willing to lower it after all that time.
2. Why are the owners selling it?
This is a straight-up question that serves two purposes. First, you can figure out if something is potentially wrong with the house, if the owners don’t have a clear answer. For example, if they’re moving because they got a job in a different state, that’s reasonable. But if they don’t actually have an answer, or they try to avoid it, maybe there’s an issue you weren’t aware of. Of course, it doesn’t always mean that, maybe they just felt like moving, but it’s worth investigating.
Another reason why this is a good question to ask is because the answer might help you lower the price. For example, if the seller has to move overseas, or has anything urgent that’s making them move as soon as possible, they might be willing to lower the price in order to make the sale as soon as possible.
3. How long have the owners been living in it?
Another way to figure out if there’s anything wrong with the house, is to ask how long the owners have been living in it. If they have been living in the house for a long time, chances are, it’s a good house. However, if they have been living in it for a very short time, look into why there’s moving so soon. There could potentially be something wrong with the house, or with the neighborhood. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the case, there might be a different reason why they’re moving and the house is perfect, but make sure to check.
4. Have they had any work done on the property?
You want to ask the owners directly if they have had any work done on the property. Your conveyance will give you that answer as well, but you want to make sure their answers match, so there are no surprise issues with any work that might have been done on the house.
5. What’s the neighborhood like?
This is an obvious question, but oftentimes buyers forget to ask it, because they have too many things to think about. Asking what the neighborhood is like is very important. You need to know if the neighbors are noisy, or if they are unreasonable and tend to complain about things that they shouldn’t complain about. You should know if they are problematic in any way. Also, you want to know if the neighborhood is overall safe, and if it has everything you’ll need to live there comfortably.
6. What is included in the sale?
You’ll probably get an answer to this question even without asking, but if you don’t, make sure to ask what’s included in the sale. Is any of the furniture included? What about home appliances? What about backyard equipment? This will help you be prepared.
7. How much are the bills?
A useful question to ask when choosing a house is how much are the bills. Even if this might not influence your decision on whether or not you want to buy that house, it will be useful to know that information, so you know what to expect when you move in.
8. Is the seller a part of an onward chain?
An onward chain is a situation that happens when sellers are buying a new house at the same time they’re selling their house, and they’re waiting to move out of their home to buy the new one, but their own sellers haven’t moved out yet.
This happens often, and it’s a common obstacle to buying a house. It doesn’t mean that there will be an issue with the sale if the owners are a part of an onward chain, but it might mean you’ll have to wait a bit in order to move in, you asking that question will ensure you know what to expect.
9. Have there ever been any problems with the house?
This open-ended question should cover any questions you might have forgotten to ask. You’ll let the seller tell you if there are any other problems you haven’t noticed or forgot to ask about.
10. What are the nearby schools like?
If you have kids, asking what the nearby schools are like when buying a house is a good idea. You’ll know if you want to enroll your kids in the nearest school, or if maybe the one that’s a bit farther from the house is a better choice.
11. Are there any places not near the house that are generally needed?
You want to make sure you have everything you’ll need in your neighborhood. Are the grocery stores nearby? Is there a gas station nearby? Is there a school nearby? Is there a pharmacy nearby? Is there a doctor nearby? Make sure you ask about everything you might need.
Those are some of the main questions you should be asking when buying a house. If you’re moving to Phoenix, AZ for the first time, I have many resources that will help you transition to your new neighborhood easily.
If you’re just in the beginning stages of buying a house, and you’re looking for a Phoenix real estate agent, I’d love to help! I’m Jenn Jenkins, a Realtor® with 12 years of experience, and I can help you find the house of your dreams! Contact me!