BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Those of us who are in the market for a new home may feel a bit overwhelmed upon dipping a toe into the ever-changing waters of the housing market.
To ease the burden, financial experts have provided a list of questions to ask your real estate agent before purchasing a home.
Ten of those questions are listed below.
#1 How long has this property been on the market?
According to an article by Chase, “Properties that have been sitting for some time may have more motivated sellers. There also could be a major problem that’s stopped other potential buyers. Alternatively, if a home hasn’t been available for long, you may need to prepare to act fast in making an offer.”
#2 What is the average cost of other homes in the area?
Ask your agent this to find out if the property is reasonably priced in comparison with similar homes in the area. If the cost turns out to be higher, you may be able to negotiate when you make an offer. But if the home is lower in cost in comparison with others like it, this may indicate underlying issues with the property.
#3 Is the house in a flood zone or an area likely to be impacted by natural disasters?
Chase states, “Your agent can check the homes you’re interested in against a FEMA map of flood zones, or may have enough expertise in the area to know which properties are more likely to be at risk in case of natural disasters.”
#4 Will purchasing the home require joining a homeowners association?
This is an often overlooked question that can have huge impacts for homeowners upon moving in. Neglecting to inquire about the homeowner’s association may mean being surprised by a host of rules, regulations, and fees. So, it’s a great idea to ask your realtor about all of this beforehand.
#5 What prompted the seller’s decision to move?
According to an article from Bankrate, “Understanding why the seller is moving — whether it’s due to downsizing, a job relocation or as a result of a major life event — might help you get a better deal on the property. A good buyer’s agent will try to find out this information for you and gauge how flexible (or not) the seller might be during negotiations. A motivated seller who needs to move quickly or whose home has been on the market a while is more likely to work with you than someone who isn’t in a rush to move.”
#6 What is the condition of the home’s roof?
Asking about the age and condition of the roof may save you from purchasing a home that looks great but is in need of a roof replacement, which is a pricey endeavor. Chase also points out that, ” A roof in need of repair could also be a problem for your lender, and you may have to negotiate with the seller to replace it before you can get your mortgage.”
#7 How efficient is the home’s heating and cooling system?
Considering the dangerous heat waves that Louisiana experiences during summer, it is essential to live in a home with a dependable AC. So, asking about the age and condition of the heating and cooling system is a must.
#8 Are there any disclosures?
A disclosure gives potential buyers details about a property’s condition and any issues that might negatively impact the value of the home. This may include reporting lead paint, asbestos, mold and water damage, or pest damage.
#9 Are there any easements?
According to Chase, “An easement is a legal right of a neighbor to access your property. This can happen if a shared driveway, for example, starts on your land and branches off to other houses. If you have any plans for the yard, you’ll want to know if there’s anything you can’t change.”
#10 Are there any problems with the house?
Experts say that if you ask the average seller this question, many will give you an honest answer. This is because it wouldn’t be to their benefit for you to get to the inspection stage, realize there’s a huge problem with the house that you didn’t know about, and then back out of the sale. So, it can be helpful to your decision-making process to ask this question and carefully consider the homeowner’s answer.
For additional questions to consider before purchasing a home, check out the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s article on the subject.