Let’s talk HOME BUYING and things that might not seem important at first.
When you buy a house without asking yourself the right questions, you sometimes end up making costly mistakes. And isn’t the whole point to save money?? Definitely!
These items below are the questions you may need to ask before jumping in with 2 feet. I’m sharing these tips with you in hopes of helping other people make the best decisions about home buying! Its exciting buying a home and sometimes your thoughts are on what would your TV look like in this room not things that are potential problems only found after moving in.
A good Realtor will be automatically taking in and making mental notes of all these questions but its always worth asking yourself these questions and then comparing to what your Realtor says. So, for any of you that are home-shopping, or know someone that is buying a home, make sure you ask these 10 questions before you buy a home.
1. Will the windows need to be replaced?
Did you know that new windows can set you back upwards of $10,000…..$15,000, or more? How often do you walk into a house and inspect the windows? Windows are boring. If anything, we swoon over the shape of them, the position of them, the scenery outside of them, but rarely do we consider the condition of the windows. But, have you ever had to deal with poor windows? Windows that don’t stay shut? Windows that are so drafty you’ve got to apply ugly plastic over them to keep the cold out? Old windows that have peeling, chipped paint (which may even have lead in them if the house was built before 1973)? Windows are costly and they’re one of the most costly home repairs and upgrades that you’ll ever pay for.
When you move into a house, the last thing you pay attention to is the windows. You will be thinking about how pretty the house would look with your favorite colors of paint…and how much space you would have. The last thing you needed to know was if the windows were drafty. Would be better spending your money on something worth while, like–a car–perhaps?? lol. Get a house with solid windows that will keep keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
2. What’s the position and quality of the trees around this house?
In a bad storm, can those trees fall on your new house? Do any of them look rotted? Do any of them need to be cut down? Do those trees block the sunrise? What about the sunset? When we bought this house, it was winter of 2010. There were no leaves on the trees. Who even notices bare trees in the winter? We sure didn’t. But let me tell you–when those leaves came….they sucked out all the sunlight, making our home feel like a cave.
TIP: Be cognizant of where trees are in relation to the house you want to buy. Consider the fact that if you want to remove a tree, the cost is usually anywhere from $400 – $1,500 or more to have the stump removed!
3. Do you see any signs of pests?
Could you imagine buying a house and finding–ICK!–roaches?? Most people don't have this problem! But you need to be vigilant about pests when you’re looking for a place. Look for mouse droppings, if you see them ask the sellers for more information about it. Look inside cabinets, and moist places where pests like to hide. Heck–pull the refrigerator or stove out, and make sure there’s nothing there! If you are buying in the country and have issues with this you could pay about $40 a month, an expense you hadn’t planned on.
4. Are there sidewalks in the neighborhood?
Maybe you were too excited about the awesome house, but somehow, you didn’t even realize that there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Because of this, your kids can’t just go outside and ride bikes or scooters; they might get hit by a car! If you’ve got kids, or nieces and nephews that come to visit, get a house with some sidewalks. Even if you have no children, for your own safety when walking or jogging, buy a home in a neighborhood where there are sidewalks. I find that older homes and neighborhoods tend to have no sidewalks.
5. Is the house too out-dated?
No house is going to be perfectly upgraded, especially if it’s a steal in price. But maybe you’re mesmerized by the beauty of the bay window, or the lovely wood floors, or how nice the house could be after you’ve gotten your DIY hands on it. Sometimes a home’s potential is its selling feature, along with the price and the promise of its beauty. But you must take a hard look at how outdated the house really is. How much will it cost to upgrade your new home? How much time will be involved if you attempt some DIY projects yourself? Are you being realistic regarding what you can accomplish, in time and budget? If you have kids, consider if you’ll have enough time away from the kids to get these projects done. Otherwise, you may end up years later with rooms still donning the hideous wallpaper because there just isn’t enough time to get the house “done.”
Completing makeovers takes time, especially if the whole house is outdated. Just remember this rule of thumb: each room will take about 30 days to transform if you focus on one room at a time. How many months will it take for you to totally transform your new home, in that case? Factor in more time depending on budget, children, etc. How much time are you willing to do it?
6. Does the house have any weird odors?
What do you smell when you walk into the house? If you smell funk, be careful. If the house smells funky, it’s either a) mold/mildew b) dirty people, or c) cooking smells that may take a long time to go away. Don’t just think that you can “air a home out” after settlement. When you walk into a house you’d like to buy, it should smell….well….like NOTHING. There shouldn’t be any odors that try to make the house smell “good.” You should smell very little. Homes that leave an odor means that you will be dealing with the odor when you move in, or it may be covering up other smells you don’t even realize are there until you move in. Sometimes this can be a costly problem to clear up, depending on its cause. WHat time of the year can also effect odors.
7. Does the ground slope AWAY from the house?
Does the house sit at the top or bottom of a hill? Where does the water flow around the house? Grading is probably one of the few things people check when they go house-hunting. Don’t make this mistake! Grading that is poor and allows rain and water to sit at the home’s foundation is a recipe for flooding and water damage. Grading isn’t cheap to fix. Expect to pay upwards of $2,500 to have a professional landscaper or grading professional to regrade the entire perimeter of your home.
8. What do the cars in the neighborhood look like?
Okay, we’re boarding on something probably unethical, but it’s true. Take a look around you. If you see broken-down cars, that might tell you something about the neighbourhood. The cars don’t have to be BMWs and Audis. But look for late model cars that look well-cared for. The quality of the cars, more so than the brand, that people drive in the neighborhood, really can tell you about the quality of a neighborhood.
9. What are the neighbors like?
Imagine the horror of moving into a house and you end up hating your neighbors. YIKES! Go up and knock on the doors of the nearby neighbors and tell them you’re planning to make an offer on the house next door or across the street. See what they say. Are they nice? Are they gossiping about the other neighbors that are moving out? Do they seem SANE?? What does their yard look like? Be sure to talk to all the neighbors. Do they have something negative to say about certain neighbors? Choose your neighbors wisely!
10. How much are the utilities for that house?
Granted, your usage will be different, depending on your family size and usage. But calling ahead to the utility companies (and even identifying WHICH utilities you will need to pay–gas or electric? both?) will give you a great starting point to use when creating your budget, to make sure you can afford the property and all the things that go into moving into a new or larger home. There are tons of expenses you don’t even realize up front that you’ll need to pay when you move into a new house, but if you can nail down the utilities, you’re one step closer to making a wise decision. NOTE: Some of these things your inspector will look for and note, but that’s AFTER you’ve already put an offer on a house. Why get to that point? Why not note these things beforehand so you’re not wasting money on an inspection for a house that you may end up not buying anyhow? Be wise. Look for the right things, from the beginning :).