10 Questions a First Time Home Buyer Should Ask

Last Updated: August 6, 2019
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Once you’ve decided to apply for that first home loan and you get the money you may think you’re done. You already have everything and now you just need to find a house.  But you don’t want to fall in love with a house without knowing the most important questions - so here are the questions you should ask before signing a contract

Unfortunately, there is always going to be something at an inspection, whether major or minor. You want to know these things. But there are other issues you’ll want to know about too. If you don’t you could end up with a problem later on with your house.

Let’s review the most important questions for first time home buyers:

1. Can I Really Afford This House?

Since the recession, you’ll find that most mortgage companies have gotten more stringent. You need to have something in order to qualify at all. If you can get at least to 20% you’re going to be even better off. Having a lower down payment means you’ll have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance. Saving the right amount can help you avoid this extra cost.

Make sure you’re not going to be paying more than you can afford. You could actually get approved for a loan that’s far higher than you might think. If you can’t easily afford the monthly payments, however, it could mean problems down the road. You don’t want to use everything you can possibly get just because you can.

Check out the mortgage calculators available online to see what you’re going to be able to really afford.

Remember, there are far more things involved than the mortgage payment. You’ll also need to be able to pay other charges. Things like insurance, property taxes and upkeep are important. Repairs and home improvement also cost money.

You’ll want to have something saved for a rainy day.

2. Why Is the House Being Sold?

Many things could contribute to someone deciding to sell their house. Things like new jobs or looking for a bigger or smaller house or even lifestyle changes could be a reason. Asking about why the individual wants to sell and move could allow you a little more flexibility in the costs.

Remember, your seller isn’t required to answer the question. They might though and that means you might get more say. If the seller is motivated it means you might be able to get a lower price. On the other hand, if your seller isn’t motivated they might hold out. That means they may not be willing to negotiate.

3. What Are the Bills?

You’re going to have to pay bills on your house. That means you want to have an idea of what they cost. Getting an average cost will help you be better prepared. You’ll also want to know about the peak months.

Talk about the actual source of energy within your house appliances. These are things like gas, electric or propane. You’ll want to know about possible upgrades in the future. You’ll also want to know about how you can improve your energy costs and savings.

When you attempt to get a mortgage you need to be able to prove that you can pay for everything. Remember things like council taxes and what the property is qualified as. Each of these things will affect your overall budget.

Having a high council tax could be difficult for your budget. Having a lower council tax could actually be a benefit for you overall. Make sure you at least know what the payments will be so you can be prepared for what it means on your future.

4. What’s My Deposit?

If you make an offer you’ll need to make a deposit. This is what tells the seller that you’re really serious and interested. Keep in mind that your deposit will roll into your down payment when it comes time to officially purchase.

If you decide to not go through with the purchase for no valid reason you may not be able to get your deposit back. Even worse, you could actually get sued. When it comes to the specifics, however, the rate for your deposit is variable.

5. What is The Neighborhood School Rating?

Knowing how good the school is will be important even if you don’t have children and don’t plan to. If you ever decide to sell the house other buyers could be looking for good school zones. That means your home value is going to be affected by the schools in the area.

You want to look at sites like GreatSchools.org to find out where the schools rank. Stay in good school districts to get the most out of your purchase.

6. How Long We Would Stay?

Before you purchase your house you should definitely be thinking about when you might want to sell. Did you know that most first-time buyers only stay in a specific house for four years?

If you’re not buying a house that’s more general and popular (meaning not as unique) it could be harder to sell.

7. Is There Anything That’s NOT Included In The Sale Of The House?

When you look around that house and decide to buy you shouldn’t assume you get everything you see. Appliances, fixtures and furniture often do not come with the house.

It’s possible that the shed, ceiling fixtures or even built-in items are going to be removed. You want to make sure you pay attention to the different things in the house.

Before you assume anything, make sure you talk with the agent. They’ll be able to talk about what you’re getting and what you’re not. You can also set up what you really want directly in the contract. If you have it built right in you’ll get everything you expect to get.

8. How Noisy is The Neighborhood?

You want to know how noisy the area is during the day and during the night. Riding through the area during both times will be important for you. But make sure you do it several times, during the weekdays and weekends. Make sure you pay attention to what’s in the area as well, such as hospitals or airports.

You also want to pay attention to the neighbors. All of these things are going to affect how comfortable you are in your house every night.

9. Is There Anything Wrong with the House?

When it comes to buying a house you want to make sure you have disclosure statements. A seller uses them to protect against legal action. A buyer uses them to make sure the house is in good condition. There are different disclosures that are required based on the specific area you live in.

Things like liens, lead-based paint, termites, property-line disputes, defects and natural hazards are all common disclosures that must be made by a seller. You can also take a look at the 8 disclosures that have to be made.

If the seller knows about problems that aren’t required to be disclosed you still want to know. Talking to them directly can be important. Ask about problems and negotiate based on the requirements. You don’t want to take their word for everything. You still want to make sure you get an inspection. There could be things the seller doesn’t know. Or there could be things the seller knows but doesn’t want to share with you.

10. What Is Your Asking Price Based On?

You want to know how the house is being valued. When you know about the reasons that it’s priced where it is you can make better choices. You might find that the seller is pricing the house too high and an agent may be willing to tell you that. You want to get an idea of different prices when it comes to properties within the area. That way you’ll know whether you’re paying a good amount.

Bottom Line

Pay attention to everything that the listing materials and the marketing materials have. You also want to pay attention to your showing to get more information about the house. Not only that but talk with the seller to get as much information as possible. If you can’t talk to a seller try to get in touch with an agent to find out even more about what they know as well.