Essential Questions to Ask Regarding Major Issues
As first-time home buyers, you want to make sure there are no significant issues with your potential new home. Some states require a home inspection when buying a home. It’s always wise to get an inspection done either way. The inspection will find common issues like radon, asbestos, and lead paint. Even the seller may not have a clue about these issues. Your real estate agent should be able to provide contact information for inspectors. You can also do a web search of your own.
There are also significant issues that your inspector may not touch on. So it’s always good to know what you’re walking into up front. Here are some questions you can ask about any significant issues in a home:
Did the previous owners make any additions or major renovations?
Sometimes, property records and listings don’t identify additions or renovations. A home may advertise as a five-bedroom when one of the rooms is a non-conforming addition. And it may not be up-to-date on building codes. You can also request the original manufacturer warranties for appliances, water heaters, HVAC, and other related systems. This way, you’ll have a better idea of its condition. As a bonus, you could potentially negotiate to lower the final sale price.
What is the age of the roof?
Roofing repairs or replacement can be costly. A home’s roof may be at the end of its lifespan and require you to replace it shortly after moving in. Your lender will likely require any existing damage to be repaired or replaced with a new roof before they approve your loan. Find out the roof’s age if it’s not already included in the listing so you can avoid these costs.
What are the major repairs or problems with the home (if any)?
It’s a requirement for sellers to disclose any known defects in a home, but sometimes not everything gets revealed. Not knowing about all the issues will cost you later. A home inspection by a professional home inspector upon a signed purchase agreement could save time and money. The inspector will report and outline the home’s condition, and this report will help you negotiate concessions. Concessions are repairs or credits that the seller pays before the closing date of your new home. Sometimes, a home has too many issues. You may include a home inspection contingency that outlines this. If this is the case, you can back out of the deal and get your earnest deposit back.
How long has the house been listed on the market?
This question goes with finding out the motivation of the seller. The longer the listing, the lower the seller will likely drop the final asking price. If you ask how long the house has been listed, you can use it as a negotiation tactic, especially if it has been on the market for a long time.
Are there any health or safety hazards to be aware of?
Safety or health hazards should be noted during the home inspection. But it’s always safe to ask about hazards before you submit an offer. Your agent may find out whether there’s mold, termites, or lead paint beforehand. You want this done so you don’t have to go through the pains of finding out after the purchase offer. Treatment may be required and can be written into your contingency plan. You will then save more money in the long run.
Can I see a history of past insurance claims?
Your agent can get a copy of a comprehensive loss underwriting exchange (CLUE) report from the seller. The report will tell you if there have been any home insurance claims in the past seven years. With the report, you’ll have insight into any damages on the home not mentioned by the owners. Weather events, vandalism, or any other covered perils will be on the report.
Is the home in a flood zone?
There’s always a chance a property may be on a floodplain. The high risk of flooding will require additional flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a flood map service. The service will tell you if a property is in a high-risk flood zone.
Is the home prone to natural disasters?
You may be buying a home in a common area for natural disasters. If your area is prone to natural disasters, you may need a supplemental home insurance package. Always purchase enough home insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home. You wouldn’t want to be left paying added fees if you can prevent them in the first place. Remember, the higher the volume of claims, the higher the rates. So, if you can find a home in a low-risk area, you’ll be getting extra savings on home insurance.
Pro tip: Look into homeowners insurance before it’s too late! Check out the best home insurance comparison sites best home insurance companies at the best rates by comparing quotes for free with Insurify.