After making the decision to purchase a new home, it is easy to get swept away by all of the excitement of the buying process. Before making an offer on a home, however, it is important to ask several key questions to ensure the home is a good fit for your lifestyle while also serving as a sound financial investment. To that end, here are a few important questions to ask the seller or your real estate agent before moving forward with an offer to purchase a home.

How Much are the “Extra” Costs?

When purchasing a home, it is important to remember that your monthly mortgage loan repayment will not be the only cost associated with the property. Other costs to consider include:

  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Electric
  • Homeowner’s Association
  • Trash Pickup
  • Property Taxes

Ask your real estate agent and the current owner to provide more information about these costs so you can have a clearer idea of how much it will actually take to maintain the home on a monthly basis.

What Updates Have Been Made to the Property?

While updates are typically included on listings as a selling point, there are times when certain updates are not advertised because the homeowner cut some corners along the way or otherwise doesn’t want to draw attention to the changes. Therefore, you should ask for a list of updates so you can look into the quality of the work and determine if all of the proper permits were obtained.

If the home had any plumbing, electrical, heating or structural improvements, ask the agent to obtain copies of the receipts for this work and to see if all of the proper permits were in place. All of this information should also be included in the seller’s disclosure statement. While some of this will be covered when the home undergoes a home inspection, you can save yourself time and stress by uncovering these issues before you put in an offer.

What Kind of Restrictions are Placed on the Property?

If you think you might want to make renovations or additions to the home in the future, you need to be sure there are no restrictions in place that will prevent you from doing so. This means checking into the property’s zoning and finding out whether or not it is located in a historic or preservation area that will place limitations on what you can do with the property.

What is the Market History on this Home?

Once you have decided that the home is right for you, it is time for you to put in an offer. Unless the home is new to the market, it should have a recent market history that you can analyze when determining how much to offer for the property. For example, if the home has been on the market for quite some time and has not had many offers, you can use this information to help with negotiating a lower price. On the other hand, if there have been many offers on the home, you may need to put in a more competitive bid in order to have yours accepted.