Buying a home for the first time can be incredibly daunting. First you have to go through the process of getting pre-approved so you know how much you can afford. You send in your documents and then you send in even more documents. Because let’s face it, they always ask for more.
Once you’ve tackled all the paperwork it’s time to find a real estate agent to finally start looking for your dream house (don’t worry, with over 30 years combined experience and a dedicated team to help you through the process, we’ve got you covered).
Chances are though, as a first-time homebuyer, your budget isn’t going to match your Pinterest dream board.
While you may need to alter your expectations a bit to match your bank account, there are some aspects of a house that can be absolute deal breakers for you and your family. After your realtor narrows down the list of houses you want to go see, it’s finally time for some showings!
Realtors are going to highlight the best features of their listings. While they are required to disclose any known major issues with a house, it’s important that you know these questions to ask so you can get a feel for if it’s the right house for you.
Here are 6 questions you should ask when viewing a house:
1. When was the roof/HVAC/water heater last replaced?
If these items are at the end of their lives it could be a major expense for you right after moving in. If they’re old and worn out they could also affect getting approval on a loan (such as FHA loans that have stricter requirements). That’s not something you want to be surprised by after you’ve already committed to a house.
2. What fixtures and appliances are the sellers taking?
Every seller is different. Sometimes they leave everything you see in the house. Other times they take everything they can pull up. Make sure you know what the seller plans on leaving behind so you don’t end up having to shell out money for a new refrigerator and washer/dryer set that you never planned on needing.
3. Does the property have a septic or sewer connection?
Is the property connected to a public water source, or does it rely on a private well? While this information will be disclosed on the MLS listing, it’s important to keep it in mind when viewing a house. It’s the difference between you being responsible for fixing major issues or the public entity. It will also affect how much your utilities cost each month.
Additionally, a septic system or well may require additional inspections, which can increase your out-of-pocket expenses prior to closing.
4. Is there an HOA or Community Development Dues?
Some people prefer to have a Homeowner’s Association while others avoid them at all costs. An HOA can be great at maintaining neighborhood common areas and assuring that home values don’t plummet thanks to ‘that one neighbor,’ but they also require you to adhere to restrictions as well as pay continual fees. Keep this in mind when looking at how much house you can actually afford.
If you are buying new construction keep in mind there could be community development dues. Builders take out bonds to pay for the infrastructure and amenities of a new community. These bonds are paid back by homeowners through their real estate taxes each year.
5. How is the internet connection in this area?
This is important to consider if you often work from home or regularly use your entertainment system. A rural property is quiet and serene but it won’t work for some people who need a strong internet connection.
6. Is there a lot of noise?
If a busy street or nearby airport is going to bother you, it’s nice to know ahead of time if it will be a concern. Walk around outside and really listen to get a feel for the area.
These are just some of the essential questions you need to ask when looking to buy your first home. If it seems like a lot to keep in mind, don’t panic! A good real estate team will be with you every step of the way and guide you through the process.
Sisters Real Estate Services will help you navigate and understand every potential pitfall of the houses you consider. We’ll work tirelessly to ensure that you end up in the right house for you and your family. Call us today or email us at Carol.Givens@MySistersRealEstate.com to learn more about purchasing your first home!