30 most important questions to ask when buying a house/condo
Contributed article by : Beverly Wilks – Financial Education Advocate and Blogger at Bacon & Heels
You are ready to buy a house, congratulations! For many people, when planning to jump into the real estate market the first stop is the internet – but online search can only take you so far.
The current state of the real estate market is, well… for lack of a better word, crazy. There is not a lot of inventory on the market, interest rates have gone up, and there we’ve seen record sales number and people have been willing to forego conditions (i.e.: home inspection) in order to secure a property.
If now is the time for you to jump into the market, remember this: here are NO dumb questions when buying a home. Be sure that you ask all questions, no matter how trivial you may thing they may be.
To help you get started on your journey, I connected with Mark Dillion of ReMax Cadibec in Montreal and created a list of questions that people should ask when buying a house. broken down by each phase of the home buying process.
Questions to ask a realtor:
Working with a reputable real estate agent can help you navigate the complexities of home buying – especially in a seller’s market. It’s good practice to interview 2-3 agents before settling on one, this is to ensure that you select someone who you are comfortable with, and someone that you feel has your needs top of mind.
How do you know if the agent you are interviewing is good for you?
Here are the top 6 questions to ask your potential realtor:
What experience do you have in this specific neighbourhood?
What is your approach when working with buyers?
How do you like to communicate with your clients?
What is your process to help secure the home I/we are looking for?
How will you ensure thatI/ we have full transparency about any issues you find about a house?
Questions to ask when visiting a house:
When you are visiting homes, try to remove the emotion that you may feel during each visit ( I know its hard, but think of it like a business transaction) and dive into questions that can help you understand what it can be like to live in the space:
When was the house built?
What are the comparables in this neighbourhood?
What are property and school taxes? HOA/Condo Fees?
If you are looking at a condo: what is the current amount of the contingency/emergency fund?
Have there been any issues with the neighbours? Ie: boundary issues? Party animals living next door?
Are there any rights of passage through/near the property?
What is included in the sale?
How is the cell phone and Internet reception indoors?
What kind of drainage system does this property have? Ie: French drains?
Is this house connected to the city sewage system or is there a septic tank?
When was the roof/Windows/asphalt replaced? What is the current condition?
What is the average re-sale value in this neighbourhood?
Things to look for when visiting a house:
Look at the wall, are there major cracks? Also look for cracks that seems to have been fixed yet it looks like there is another crack.
Look for evidence of water issues? Use all your senses, does it smell like mildew? Is there the smell of fresh paint (this could be a sign of the current owner trying to cover up an issue). Listen for sounds ie: cracking floors when walking, dripping sounds. When walking around the home does the floor feel straight? Is there a slope?
Ask to see the electric panel, does it look up to date? Ask when it was last updated
Look at the gutters, are they cleaned out and free of leaves? Any leaks?
Are there vines growing on an outside wall? This is often associated with moisture on the bricks/siding and can cause create moisture between the plant and the home which can lead to mold and mildew.
Questions to ask when making an offer and closing on a home
This is where your real estate agent can help you put forth a strong offer while protecting you against potentials risks
What contingencies do you recommend including in the offer?
Do we need to put in earnest money?
If our offer is declined, can we put in a counter offer?
When is the potential closing date from an accepted offer?
What’s the next steps once the offer is accepted?
What needs to be done at the closing? What should I expect at closing?
What are the possible obstacles that can office at the closing?
Can I negotiate any reports/price reduction if the inspection finds issues?
The bottom line
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or moving into your second or third house, it always good to ask questions and ensure that you are protecting one of the biggest investments in your life.
To learn more about Beverly and Bacon & Heels, read the "Power 5" interview that we did with her in September 2021 - you can read the full blog post HERE.
Thank you for your contribution Beverly!
Contributed article by Beverly Wilks, tech marketing executive, financial literacy champion and blogger at Bacon & Heels.