The Buyer's Guide: Top 5 Initial Questions to Ask About a Home

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll likely be spending majority of your Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 1 to 4PM at open houses. Walking through what homes are available in the area, even if they aren’t your cup of tea, gives you a pulse on the market and a better understanding of what a ‘good deal’ looks like. When you come across a home you like, however, what questions are you asking? Beyond just the look and feel of the space, there are a few things you’ll want to get the details on. See my full list of questions to get answers to once you find that one place that feels like home.

Initial Questions to Ask About a Home

  1. Why are the sellers selling?

    Understand why they’re selling, and also get a better idea of their urgency. Have they purchased another home already? Is it a flip? Are the neighbors crazy? All things you want to know.

  2. How long has the home been on the market?

    This can give you leverage as a buyer. If it sitting and they’ve done multiple price reductions, this is great negotiation power when you go to make an offer. If it is new, it is less likely they’ll be interested in a low ball offer.

  3. When was the home built?

    How long has this home been around? Codes change annually, and this home could be way out of date, have old rusty pipes, asbestos, things you’ll all want to be sure you know, and you can determine a lot by knowing the age of the home.

  4. If newly renovated or construction, have all elements been permitted?

    If there’s been an addition to the home and it hasn’t been permitted, you can enjoy this extra space, but the tax records will not reflect this added element. The downside to that? If it’s stated as a 4 bedroom on tax records, but it is actually 6, you can only state 4, since the others are not technically legal. Also, there are so many hoops to jump through to get things permitted after construction, it can often times not be worth it.

  5. How long did the previous owners own it for?

    When was the last time the home went under an inspection? If it’s been 10+ years, a lot can come up within that time to cause concern. No need to worry as you have time to thoroughly review the home, and back out if major issues come up. Just good to prepare yourself.