4 Questions Home Buyers Should Ask Before Closing
It’s tempting to dive head-first into buying the first home that checks all the boxes – especially if you’ve spent what feels like forever trying to find ‘The One’. Unfortunately, if you think you’ve found the perfect home, what you find out about it after making an offer will likely cause you to think again.
Here are four essential home buying questions you need to ask before closing on a home.
#1: What appliances is the seller taking?
You wouldn’t think you’d need to ask, but many homeowners have been shocked to find that, in their final walkthrough, certain appliances are notably absent. This is because it’s not mandatory that a home seller leave behind the refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, or dishwasher. It has to be specifically put into the contract which appliances are included in the price. If you don’t ask your realtor this question before putting an offer on the table, you could be surprised when the contract states, for example, that the only appliance they’re leaving is the dishwasher.
#2: When was the last time any work was done on the roof?
Knowing an estimate of the time you can expect the roof to last after you buy the home is essential. You should also want to make sure the roof is insurable. Depending on the square footage and your insurance policy, it’s easy to spend upwards of $10,000 to replace a roof. If you don’t have that, and it’s going to be needed in the next five years, you may want to change your negotiation tactics. Many sellers are willing to replace roofs if you meet them close to their asking price.
#3: How does the home compare to others in the area?
One of the worst things you can do to yourself, financially speaking, is to overpay for a house. Avoid this mistake by asking your realtor to pull up a list of recently sold homes in the area that are comparable to the one you want. He or she will then pull up nearby houses that are similar in square footage, updates, repairs and renovations. If the asking price is far above what comparable homes have recently sold for in your area, you’ll then know how to structure your offer.
#4: Does the home have any known defects?
Although this information is supposed to be disclosed to you during the option period of your offer, the owner is only required to disclose any defects that they are aware of. Before you even make an offer on the home, your realtor should bring any noticeable defects to your attention. When you get the home formally inspected (not required but always recommended), the inspector will report what the overall health of the home is, and if it needs any immediate or upcoming repairs. Pay close attention to this report and ask lots of questions (it’s part of doing your due diligence). Typically, homebuyers pay 1% of the home’s value each year in repairs regardless of how new or old the home is, but it’s very easy to pay even more. Houses can be money pits if you’re not careful.
Don’t expect the seller to disclose everything it needs, and don’t assume that just because it’s expensive everything is fine with it!
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