Questions To Ask When Viewing a House
In addition to the observations that were noted in When Viewing a House… it would be very prudent of you to inquire about the following.
Unlike previous lists I’ve given you, these are not just observations that you need to make. This is a list of questions that you need to ask. If the current owner of the house is available, he is the one you should be asking. If the current owner is not immediately available then you should ask the agent showing you the home. Your agent may not have all the answers up front, but he will definitely do his best to obtain the answers for you. After all, he ultimately wants to sell you a home…
No matter what the case though, it is up to you to follow up and make sure that all your questions are answered. If any party involved is intent on keeping information from you, this is a bad sign and might just be enough reason for you to walk away.
Now on to the questions!
How old is the ______________?
What goes in the blank? Well, just about everything actually.
- Appliances (assuming they come with the house, do they?)
- Deck or Patio
- Carpet or Other Flooring
This might not seem like a big deal to you at the moment, but if the fridge is 10 years old, how long before it gives up the ghost? If the shingles are 15 years old, how soon might water start leaking into the attic?
What is your average energy bill in the summer/winter?
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across town or across the country, this is something you will want to find out. Not only can the climate of the area affect your energy bills, but your bills will also be affected by the condition of the house.
Going back to the previous question: How old are the windows and doors? Are the windows still providing a tight seal for the house? Newer windows will definitely help you save on your energy bills in both summer and winter.
Are there any offers on the house?
It’s always good to know what kind of competition you’re up against. If there are no other current offers, you can probably start the bidding a bit lower. However, be ready to tighten up if there is currently competition or if new offers come in after you. Be sure you know what’s going on if you’re really interested in the house.
Why are you moving?
Now this one can be a bit tricky. Obviously the seller wants to get out as soon as possible. So if they’re moving because of the obnoxious neighbors, they’re probably not going to tell you that. However, I still like to ask the question to see their reaction.
With that being said, I should note that it could be very easy for the seller to lie about any and all of the above questions (hopefully, you don’t have to deal with dishonest sellers, but it happens).
The good news is that most of the information you asked about can be verified in one form or another. It may take a little time and effort to gather the information you need, but at least you will have your answers and be able to gauge the seller’s honesty.
Regardless of how many houses you view, the people you meet, and the answers they give, remember to enjoy this part of the process. You are searching for your dream home and the best part is there is no cost involved at this point. Take your time and view all the houses you want. This can be fun.