Buying a home is definitely a process — and one you certainly don't want to cut any corners on. Looking at homes and choosing one that is best for you is just one part of that process. There are several questions you should ask before you make an offer on a home.
While many experienced real estate agents will answer these questions for you without needing to be asked, some may assume you already know the answers. Here are some questions you should ask before putting an offer on a home.
-What will my property tax be? When you purchase a home, you pay property taxes. Knowing how much you will pay on the home will help you prepare for the expense and keep you informed. This way, a surprise doesn't bust your budget.
-When was the home built? An older home may have higher utility costs than a newer home. Older homes also tend to need more repairs and may have potential risks like lead paint.
-What is the home's market value? A real estate agent cannot tell you what to offer on the home, but knowing its market value can help you know what a solid, realistic offer for the home will be. Some sellers have unrealistic expectations about what their home will sell for.
-Is the seller flexible on the asking price? Sometimes, sellers just want to get the home sold and will be willing to negotiate. Other sellers are set on the price point and will barely budge on the amount. Knowing this will help you make a decision on what kind of offer to place on the home -- or if you want to place an offer on it at all.
-Is there a problem with the house? Some states have laws that require sellers to disclose this information if asked. Also, sometimes sellers get home inspections before putting a home up for sale. If there was a recent home inspection, ask if you can get a copy of the findings to review. Problems can include things like infestations, lead paint, asbestos, foundation problems and more.
-What is the history of the home? When possible, find out as much about the history of the home as possible. Some homes are referred to as "stigmatized homes" and include homes that have been the site of a murder or suicide, a meth lab, an unusual death, reports of ghost sightings and other paranormal activity. Not all states require this information to be disclosed, but if the home can be considered "stigmatized," it will generally sell up to 25% below market value.