What First Time Homebuyers Should Ask a Realtor
It is likely that every adult in their late 20’s or early 30’s has faced the pressure to stop letting rent burn a hole in their pocket and buy a home to start building some equity in their place of residence.
However, buying a home can be quite the daunting task, with many first-time buyers paralyzed with fear at the prospect of sinking their money into a house with significant issues that will cost a fortune to mitigate down the road.
Fortunately, there are a number of helpful questions that first-time homebuyers can ask their realtor to be sure that their house will cause them few headaches moving forward.
Are There Foundation Issues?
When doing research on a property, the foundation is the first place to start, as any imperfections in the foundation will lead to future structural problems.
If the realtor does not offer enough to reassure you as to the foundation’s quality, look for some of the following signs that may indicate problems:
- Large, zigzagging cracks on the walls
- Doors that catch or do not close snugly
- Disconnected wall corners or gaps between the wall and floor
What Framing Materials Have Ben Used?
If the foundation is question 1A for a realtor, then framing is a close 1B. Like the foundation, the quality of the framing affects the quality of everything built upon it, so a poorly framed house will undoubtedly lead to future issues.
Popular wood frame materials, such as insulated structural panels, provide some insulation from harsh weather. However, they tend to rot after absorbing moisture and do not provide ideal thermal mass, so concrete-framed houses are the better choice for limiting future repairs and keeping HVAC costs consistently low.
Has the Roof Ever Been Replaced?
Despite providing the cover to every house on the market, many home buyers overlook the roof while looking into more ground-level concerns. However, a damaged or leaking roof is a quick ticket to future repairs, so its quality must be considered before purchasing a home.
Most common roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, have a useful life of about 15 to 20 years, so if the home you are considering falls into this age range and is still rocking its original roof, you can expect to spend on an upgrade in the near future.
What Renovations Has the Kitchen Seen?
Modernized kitchens are major selling points in a competitive housing market. As such, if you pay top dollar for a home that does not have a trendy kitchen, it may be difficult to see any price appreciation in the property without an expensive remodel.
Buyers like to see kitchen features that increase functionality and reduce the time and cost of maintenance, so place extra value on homes that have large, multi-purpose island areas and are topped with one of the most popular quartz countertops colors to reduce the threat of cracking or staining surfaces.
How Much is the Monthly Water Bill?
While a high average water bill may be due to the bad habits of the previous owner, anything that is suspiciously high could be the result of a leaking pipe. Not only will pipe leaks lead to expensive water bills, but they can be precursors to more significant issues, such as floor rot or foundation shifts.
How is the Surrounding Neighborhood?
Location is everything in real estate, and a well-constructed home that is poorly located may end up being a major inconvenience and/or difficult to resell. Find out about the crime rate in the area, ask if there are any loud streets or railroads that ever get annoying, and see if there are good schools, shopping, and entertainment nearby.