There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a property, and it can be hard to keep them all in mind when viewing homes. To help, I have compiled additional questions to supplement my original post about questions to ask when buying a home.
Check out the original, then read these questions and pick the ones more relevant to your situation.
More Questions to Ask Before Buying a House
Homeowners have different needs and wants. Make sure you ask the right questions to help you understand whether a property is right for you.
What Are the Taxes on This Property?
Property taxes can impact your monthly mortgage payment. While taxes are paid yearly, property taxes are generally collected monthly and put into an escrow account. To make sure you are comfortable with the monthly payment on a home, you will need to consider:
- The down payment you can afford
- The size of mortgage you will need
- The mortgage interest rate
- The costs of homeowner’s insurance
- The cost of property mortgage insurance, if your down payment is less than 20% of the home sale price
- Property tax
- Additional expenses like HOA fees
- General maintenance costs of homeownership
Keep in mind that certain features, like a pool, can increase the cost of utilities and insurance.
When Were the Systems Last Serviced?
AC is critical in Florida! Make sure the HVAC unit and other home systems have been properly maintained. If the home has a pool, for instance, you will want to verify that the pumps and filters have been serviced throughout their lifetimes.
Also, be sure to look into whether anything is still under warranty and if that warranty can be transferred.
How Close Is the Nearest _______?
Like to walk to the dog park? Looking to live near a gym or supermarket? If your Realtor is showing you a property, be sure to ask about the things that matter to you.
Also, consider how your lifestyle will change upon the move. Will your commute grow? Will you be further from your favorite places?
Where Is the Property Line?
Make sure you understand what is included in the home price. Knowing how far the property extends in each direction and whether there are any easements can help you determine whether a home is suitable for your needs. You may find that certain parcels are not suitable for a pool or are too close to the neighbors. Make sure to ask rather than assume since some landmarks may be mistaken for property lines.
Is There an HOA?
In addition to requiring fees, a homeowners association will have rules regarding home and yard maintenance. Before bidding on a property, check whether you will be beholden to an HOA and what it will cost.
Is There a Noise Ordinance for This Area?
Depending on where you want to buy a home, there may or may not be a noise ordinance. A noise ordinance helps keep a neighborhood quiet during certain hours. If you have young children or are concerned about noisy neighbors, learn more about the area’s rules.
What School District Is This Home In?
School districts are rarely bound in straight lines. Check the area schools to understand which schools your children may attend, whether they will be eligible for bus transportation, and how long their rides will be.
When Does the Seller Want to Close?
If you want to move quickly or are hoping to wait a month or two before closing, ask about the seller’s intentions. Are they trying to close soon, or are they still in the process of finding a new property themselves? Asking this question will allow you to determine a timeline and see if it works for your goals.
When Was the Roof Last Replaced?
A sturdy, functional roof is key for keeping out wind and rain. A quality roof is an investment, though. And one you probably do not want to make right after purchasing a new home. Check to see when the roof was installed and whether it has undergone any repairs. If it is relatively new, ask if it is still under warranty and whether the warranty is transferable.
What Amenities Will We Have Access To?
Looking at a home in a gated community that has a pool? Checking out retirement homes by a golf course? Ask about included amenities, so you have a clear picture of what is included with the home sale and what requires a membership fee.
Have Other Homes Nearby Sold Recently?
Have you ever driven into a neighborhood and seen multiple for-sale signs? While this could be a big coincidence, it may also be a red flag. Before putting an offer in on a home, learn about the neighborhood and the people in it. Have they been living there for a while? If there have been a slew of recent sales, see if you can find out why. It may be that some people chose to downsize (or upsize) around the same time during the pandemic, or there could be another factor at play, like traffic noise that is uncomfortable for some previous residents.
Navigate the Process With a Realtor
I get it — buying a home for the first or even second time can be hard. There are a lot of variables to consider, but you do not have to do it alone. A skilled Tampa Realtor can help make sure you are asking the right questions and that you get the answers you need to make you feel confident in your purchase. Contact me today to get started.