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What To Ask When Buying A Home

Factoring in insurance costs on your potential new home should be a top priority, as they can add a significant amount to your monthly payments. Your lender will require you to have a homeowners insurance policy, but sometimes that might not be enough to protect from the unique risks you face where you want to live.

what to ask when buying a home

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Depending where you are, certain insurance for hazards like floods, earthquakes and hurricanes may be required. If there are no requirements in your area, make sure you assess the risk of a major disaster. This is particularly important for homes near flood zones and fault lines.

Keep an eye out for culprits like lead paint and radon that can pose serious health risks if left unaddressed. Sellers of homes built before 1978 are required to fill out a lead-based paint disclosure.

The ongoing cost of living in your home is just as important as your mortgage payments. When you look at a house, make sure you get a sense for what your monthly utilities will cost. Depending on where you live and how the house is set up, these could add a significant amount to your monthly bills.

These questions are a great resource to keep in your back pocket when looking at a home. Bring a checklist before going to a viewing or meeting with your realtor and make sure you get answers to all these important questions before negotiating on a house.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions an individual will ever make. Our real estate reporters and editors focus on educating consumers about this life-changing transaction and how to navigate the complex and ever-changing housing market. From finding an agent to closing and beyond, our goal is to help you feel confident that you're making the best, and smartest, real estate deal possible. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.

Many times, a home will languish on the market if it was priced too high at the onset, resulting in the need for multiple price reductions. A listing that shows multiple price cuts and has been sitting on the market too long may give buyers the impression that something is wrong with it. And that gives you a prime opportunity to negotiate a deal.

Finally, ask yourself what your long-term plans are for the house. Is this your forever home or a starter home? The answer may dictate what type of mortgage you get, which can save or cost a lot of money in the long run.

This is a super-important question to ask before buying a house because it can reveal a lot about the property or the neighborhood. Some reasons are obvious: the seller needs more space for a growing family, has to relocate for a new job, or is downsizing for retirement.

If utility costs seem high, you may want to look into greener alternatives in your area or investing in Energy Star appliances when existing equipment gives out. Both can reduce your total energy use and save you money.

This is a hugely important question to ask when buying a house. The presence of certain substances can pose a threat to the health of you and your family and may even mean your dream house is not worth the risk.

If damage has ever happened, ask who did the repairs and get their contact information if at all possible. Maintenance is a part of homeownership; the better prepared you are, the less stress it will cause you.

Choosing the right home is exciting, but it can be a lot of work. Even with a great real estate agent and a solid understanding of the features you're looking for in a house, locating and reviewing homes takes time and energy.

Your real estate agent should be present at any property you view, so they can get a better understanding of what you like and dislike about the home. They can also answer many questions, as well as give you advice on whether the house is a good fit based on your wants and needs.

If you have a spouse or partner, they should attend a viewing. In some cases, you may decide to go alone to the first selections your real estate agent shows you, then narrow down the options to two or three strong possibilities. Though this seems like it would save time by eliminating homes that are an obvious no-go, seeing these poor fits can help spark important conversations with your partner about what you really want in a home. For that reason, it's ideal for both of you to look at every house.

When attending a scheduled viewing or open house, it's best if you don't bring your children. Younger kids can become bored and need attention at a time when you should be focused on looking critically at each home. Even older children should only look at the houses you deem to be front runners, as they can get excited about features that aren't on your list and then be disappointed that you didn't, for example, choose the house with the swimming pool or the loft in the kids' room.

It's important to choose homes to view that fit within your price range. Sometimes, a real estate agent may suggest you view a home that is outside of your budget but fits all your other requirements. However, if you don't have any flexibility on what you can afford, it can just lead to disappointment. Getting prequalified before looking at homes can help you narrow down your search to homes that fall within your budget.

You should also have a good idea of your preferred locations and stick close to those areas when looking for properties. While you can make updates and renovations to the house, you can't change the neighborhood.

A seller who is leaving the area to take a different job or who has outgrown the home has a very different reason for moving than someone who doesn't get along with the neighbors. Knowing why the seller is leaving can also help you know if you can negotiate the price. If the seller is highly motivated, you may have some room to make additional requests for contingencies in your offer.

Fixtures like faucets and built-in closets should stay with the home, but you can ask to make sure. Appliances, chandeliers, drapes and outdoor sheds or play structures sometimes stay with the home, but may also be taken by the seller.

An ancient furnace will cost a considerable amount to replace. Even a newer furnace or heat pump may be loud or lack the energy efficiency that current models provide. You'll want to find out more about how the home is heated and cooled and whether repairing or replacing that system will be an immediate concern.

Sellers are required to report if there could be lead paint in the house. And in some locations, they also need to disclose the presence of asbestos, mold and water or pest damage. If the seller doesn't know, though, they can't be expected to reveal the information. Even if you want to have a specialized inspection that tests for asbestos or other harmful materials, the seller may not permit it. For homes built during the time those materials were commonly used, you may have to use your best guess and resolve to pay if you need to remove these materials.

Even though the seller may not legally have to reveal some information about the home, many will. They don't want you to get to the inspection stage, be surprised about a problem and back out of the sale. Listen carefully to any information the seller gives you about the home's condition. You may also find out that many key fixtures have been replaced recently, which is good news.

If additions have been made, ask about the contractor used. If a homeowner likes "do-it-yourself" projects, they may not have used the proper techniques or gotten permits for the work done. It's best to be cautious about any major work done by a homeowner who is not a licensed contractor.

Minimal water pressure can greatly diminish your enjoyment of the home and be expensive to fix. Check for water coming from shower heads and sinks. Turn on water in two areas of the home and see if that reduces flow.

We offer a variety of mortgages for buying a new home or refinancing your existing one. New to homebuying? Our Learning Center provides easy-to-use mortgage calculators, educational articles and more. And from applying for a loan to managing your mortgage, Chase MyHome has everything you need.

Whether you're determining how much house you can afford, estimating your monthly payment with our mortgage calculator or looking to prequalify for a mortgage, we can help you at any part of the home buying process. See our current mortgage rates, low down payment options, and jumbo mortgage loans.

Refinance your existing mortgage to lower your monthly payments, pay off your loan sooner, or access cash for a large purchase. Use our home value estimator to estimate the current value of your home. See our current refinance rates and compare refinance options.

Our affordable lending options, including FHA loans and VA loans, help make homeownership possible. Check out our affordability calculator, and look for homebuyer grants in your area. Visit our mortgage education center for helpful tips and information. And from applying for a loan to managing your mortgage, Chase MyHome has you covered.

Go to Chase mortgage services to manage your account. Make a mortgage payment, get info on your escrow, submit an insurance claim, request a payoff quote or sign in to your account. Go to Chase home equity services to manage your home equity account.

Not sure what questions to ask when buying a home? Be sure to download my FREE home buying workbook over at How to Buy a House in 12 Weeks. Also, be sure to check out the first 10 questions you must ask before buying a house. 041b061a72


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