Buying a home can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. You may feel clueless at first, but don’t fear, working with a mortgage broker can provide guidance and add clarity to your home buying experience. 

Home buying involves adequate planning and research. While some questions can simply be answered by searching on Google, other questions need the assistance of experienced professionals, such as realtors and mortgage brokers.

15 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

     1. How much can I afford?

You should know how much down payment you can put on a house, how much mortgage you can afford and whatever additional expected costs are entailed, such as taxes, insurances and other moving expenses. 

A mortgage calculator is also very useful to arrive at a ballpark figure of how much you can afford. If you’re a smart home buyer, getting preapproved for a mortgage should always be a priority.

     2. How much are houses priced in a neighbourhood?

A good understanding of the local real estate market will give you an idea if the price for your target home is too high. Compare similar homes and listings around the neighbourhood for reference. Knowing the prices and market value of properties will be to your advantage, especially as you negotiate with your seller.

     3. Why is the house on the market?

There are various reasons why the seller has put the house on the market and decided to sell. Some common reasons are: downsizing, upsizing or relocating. As a buyer, an understanding of the seller’s situation can help you gauge whether there’s room for negotiations. A seller who needs to move quickly will most likely be cooperative than someone who’s not in a hurry.

     4. How long has this been on the market?

The longer the house has been on the market, the more motivated the seller may be to sell and close a deal. A more motivated seller means that it’ll be easier for you to negotiate, complete repairs and more. 

If the house has been in the market for long, find out the reason why. This may give a bad impression to other buyers and usually means that something may be wrong with the property, so do your due diligence and investigate. 

     5. What’s included in the sale?

House fixtures, like light fixtures, cabinets and shelving units fixed to the property are usually included in the sale. Refer to the listing  specific exclusions. 

However, the safest way is to directly ask the seller what is and isn’t included in the home purchase. Who knows, the seller might throw in some freebies. 

     6. Who’s doing my home inspection?

As a buyer, you’ll definitely have a say on who’ll do your home inspection. Realtors usually have a list of recommended inspectors, but as a buyer, you’ll have the right to choose who’ll conduct your home inspection, especially if you want to ensure impartiality during the inspection process.

       7. Is the area prone to natural disasters?

There are times when “too-good-to-be-true” homes appear on the market. It’s usually a beautiful home with a seemingly low price. But then, upon further research, you’ll find out that the neighbourhood is prone to natural disasters. Properties that are exposed to natural hazards will require additional home insurance.

     8. Are there any safety hazards?

Sellers must provide documentation on historical safety hazards and whether these have already been resolved. You’ll need to watch out for lead, mold, radon or other hazards that can cost you down the road. These issues may also interrupt the approval of your home loan.  

     9. What’s the condition of the roof?

A home should be more than just a roof above your head. Fixing a roof’s expensive and can be a major renovation project. 

While at it, check the gutters of the house. Make sure to take note of the conditions of the pipes, water systems, heaters or furnace and the home’s ventilation. 

     10. Has there been any renovations and major additions?

There’ll be cases when the listing description doesn’t match the property’s records because of unrecorded major renovations and additions. For instance, the house may have been advertised as having four bedrooms, only to find out that two rooms have been reconstructed into one. Know the home’s renovation history to fully understand its worth and current condition.

     11. What would commuting to work be like?

This is the perfect question to ask yourself when you visit open houses. The property may seem like it’s 20 minutes away from your workplace, but travel time can vary and may take an hour on a normal work day. If you can’t see yourself bearing the commute, this house may not be the one for you.

     12. Does the neighbourhood have what I need?

The home you’ll be owning will absolutely be under your control; but you definitely can’t change your neighbourhood. Get to know if the neighbourhood has the local amenities that you need. Are there nearby schools and hospitals? Remember that the neighbourhood is part of what you’re paying for.

     13. How’s the crime rate in the neighbourhood?

The last thing you’d want to do is to buy a home in a neighbourhood that’ll put your family at risk. Ask the local police station for their security assessment and crime history for the neighbourhood. 

     14. What are the neighbours like?

The best way to get a feel for the community is by talking to your future would-be neighbours. This is an important aspect that’s often overlooked. Are your neighbours noisy or quiet? Is it a pet-friendly neighbourhood? Is the community culturally diverse?  

     15. How much will the closing costs be?

The down payment and mortgage payments aren’t the only things to watch out for, when it comes to buying a home. You’ll definitely have to prepare your budget for closing costs. Consult a mortgage broker for an estimate to help you prepare. 

Know who to ask: Consult an experienced professional

When asking questions, make sure that you’ve got the right person to talk to. You’ll need home buying professionals who can share their expertise.

Daisy Raouph’s a mortgage broker and financial security advisor based just outside the Greater Toronto Area. Daisy can guide you through your home buying journey with her many years of mortgage and financial experience. Consult Daisy today!

Get started with Daisy Raouph today