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On April 23, 2018

Stop! Ask Before You Buy

It’s no surprise that the home buying process can be overwhelming. Between an influx of information being thrown at you at once and a stack of documents to sign—you might not know where to even begin. But not to worry!

Below is a list of questions to ask your real estate agent that can help you save both time and money in the long run.

Has the property been tested for radon?
A proper test is the only way to know for certain that a house doesn’t contain this dangerous and odorless gas. If the house does test positive for elevated levels, the levels will need to be reduced through mitigation before you can move in.

Who did the most recent renovations?
Renovations are great, but they should be done by somebody who is qualified. Knowing who to reach out to if there are problems will be helpful.

How old are the appliances?
Everyday appliances like washing machines can be costly. Knowing how old they are can help you prepare for big purchases down the line.

Will the windows need to be replaced?
While replacing one window won’t seem like a lot, having to replace multiple is another story. Updated windows are less drafty and will lower the electric bill.

Do you see any signs of pests or visible termite damage?
Termites are not only pesky bust also can cause structural damage. Knowing the extent of the destruction before you move in can help you determine the best course of action for repairs.

Has this home ever had a mold inspection?
Although the majority of mold is visible, it can be hidden behind structures. Ensuring that an inspection has been completed and the house is mold-free is vital for the overall indoor air quality.

Was there ever any flooding in the house?
Flooding can be indicative that there’s something else going on. If there has been, knowing up front will help you determine the best course of action to fix the underlying issues.

How much are utilities?
Typically, the mortgage and taxes are known up front. But knowing an estimate of the utilities (electric, cable, and trash removal) will give you a better picture of how much you need to budget each month.

Where is the seller’s disclosure?
A seller’s disclosure is your opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of the house and the seller’s experience in it. Your agent can request to obtain it before you even view the house.

What is the home’s zoning guidelines?
Home-zoning guidelines vary from location to location. Guidelines permit you to expand on your property and build additional structures.

When can I get a home inspection?
Although home inspections aren’t mandatory, they’re a no-brainer. The inspector can shed light on issues that you wouldn’t find on your own. You’ll be able to bargain with the buyer for either cash credits or request that money be taken off the asking price.

Why is this house for sale?
Is the family in need of a larger space? Or is there something terribly wrong with the house itself? Getting a sense of why the current buyers have listed the house can help you determine if it’s best to move forward or not.

Are smoke detectors properly installed and located?
It’s a known fact that smoke detectors can help save lives. Knowing beforehand that the house is properly fitted with up-to-date detectors will give you peace of mind.

What is the neighborhood’s noise level?
A noisy neighborhood can disrupt all. Frankly, there’s nothing worse than moving in and then discovering that your neighbors are equivalent to elephants. Inquire beforehand with either the seller’s agent or the sellers themselves about the noise levels.

What are the neighbors like?
Neighbors can either make or break your home purchase. Be sure to inquire about the characteristics of your neighbors—loudness, friendliness, and neatness.

Are the gutters in good condition?
Although gutters are a relatively easy and affordable fix, they can cause copious amounts of water damage. You can either ask the sellers whether the gutters have been inspected or get a professional to take a look.

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