8 questions to ask when looking at a home
Many people buy a home to get extra space for growing families, changing lifestyles, or to more comfortably host guests. Extra space also makes homes more appealing to buyers when it comes time to sell.
Here are 8 questions to ask—and answer—when looking at properties:
- Is there enough room for you now and in the near future?
- Is the home's floor plan right for your family?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Will you have to replace the appliances?
- Is the yard the size that you want?
- Are there enough bathrooms?
- How much maintenance and/or decorating will you need to do right away or later?
- Will your present furniture work in this home?
As a rule of thumb, ask any questions you have about specific rooms, features, or functions. Pay particular attention to areas that you feel could become "problem" areas—additions, defects, areas that have been repaired.
And above all, if you don't feel your question has been answered, ask until you do understand and are satisfied. In most cases, your real estate agent will be able to provide you with detailed information about each home you see.
Finding the “right” home for you
There is no set number of homes you should look at before you decide to make an offer on one. That's why providing the agent with as many details as possible up front is so helpful.
Some people prefer new homes, which generally have more space in the rooms where today's families do their living, like a family room or activity area. They're usually easier to maintain, too.
However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money, as well as larger yards. Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home, but shy away because they're concerned about potential maintenance costs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Home Protection Plan protects you against unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first visit. Even if it isn't, the house-hunting process will help you get a feeling for the homes in the community and narrow your choices to a few homes that are worth a second look.
If you're looking in more than one community, try to make the most of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local chamber of commerce to pick up promotional literature about the community. Or ask the agent for welcome kits, maps and information about schools, churches and recreational facilities. Also, be sure to take along a camera and snap some pictures of all the homes you like. That will make it easier to remember and reach a decision.
If you’re unsure what to expect from a new neighborhood, as your agent I can help.
I know where the local schools are, and I can provide you with valuable information about school districts, including test scores, extracurricular activities, bus service and more. If you're relocating, I may even be able to put you in touch with teachers and principals when you visit the area. And if you want to do a little searching on your own, the Internet may also be a good place to start.
I also know where to shop, eat, and find the kind of lifestyle you’re seeking.
To find out if a home you’re looking at is priced well, you can:
Check out public records in that neighborhood—you can get all the information you want about recent sales, including prices and listing times, by calling the County Recorder of Deeds.
If you're interested in a particular home, I be able to provide you with a list of comparables—sale prices of homes in your area that are roughly the same size and age as the home you're considering. Although there will certainly be some differences between the homes—the house next door may have an extra bedroom, or the one down the block may be older than the one you're looking at— it's a good way to evaluate the seller's asking price.
Here are 8 tips to help make finding that first home go as smoothly as possible:
- Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.
- Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
- Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.
- Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. You will be the one that will be ultimately living in the home and paying the mortgage payment.
- Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
- Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
- Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.
- Contact me to help you to find your next home. E:orhan@RealestFlorida.com
Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s representative are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.