10 Apr 5 Essential Questions To Ask When Shopping for A Home
Hi there, Acadeo friends!
When it comes to real estate, there is no such thing as too much information. After all, buying a house is a serious long-term commitment, and it will take years of hard-earned money to finish paying for a house on sale.
Which is why it’s important to have a list of questions to ask ready even before you consider shopping around for a new home. Here are 5 great questions to ask your real estate agent or home seller before seriously considering a property.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SAVE FOR DOWN PAYMENT?
This is a very cliche question, but it’s very important to know what your financial limits are. As mentioned before, buying a house – even PAG IBIG foreclosed properties, which are much cheaper compared to most market prices – is a serious investment.
If you don’t have ample savings to cover unexpected costs, let alone the down payment for a new home, you might end up severely in debt and lose the home later on.
Ask how much the property costs and how much you’ll be expected to pay in down payment – then multiply that by 2. That’s the amount of money you’ll need to prepare when buying a new home, and we’ll explain later on in this article why.
IS IT A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?
If you and your loved one are planning on starting a new life with your family, you need to consider the neighborhood of your desired property. A home may be within your budget and has the square footage that you want, but is it worth it?
For example, if the property is in an area that’s at high risk for natural disasters (constant flooding during rainy season, possibility of landslides), then you’ll be constantly fixing your home and repairing or replacing furniture every year when the storm season arrives. In turn, that will affect your savings, or even your day-to-day expenses.
Similarly, if your desired property is near high-traffic roads, or in a neighborhood with a high transient population, it could be dangerous for your family, especially if you have small children. A secluded neighborhood means competitive market prices, but if it’s too far from where you work, what you save in house payments will get eaten up by commuting costs.
Consider these factors before you start discussing possible loan applications for the property.
WHAT KIND OF REPAIRS WILL THE PROPERTY NEED?
Remember when we said that whatever your required down payment is, you should save 2 times that amount? This is why.
Many sellers won’t disclose all of the damages or issues a property has, for obvious reasons – they want to sell it quickly at a comfortable price, and buyers would want to negotiate for a lower price if there are a lot of repairs needed for the property.
While there are many sellers who do inform potential buyers about damages and repairs, there’s a 99% chance that they’ll forget to mention something, not because they’re trying to fool you but because they’re used to such things.
Think of your own house – if you have a creaky door, you won’t really think about it because you’re used to it. But someone moving in might be very bothered about this, and will have to spend money to get it fixed if they can’t fix it themselves. Now imagine if this situation applies to many small repairs throughout the property. They add up to a substantial amount.
So on top of additional processing fees, legal fees, and utility connection expenses, consider your budget for potential repairs when shopping for a new home.
WHY ARE THE OWNERS SELLING THE HOME?
We Filipinos tend to be superstitious people. There’s nothing wrong with this! Pre-colonial Philippines had a very colorful animist belief system, which we have retained despite over 300 years of colonization. Which is why, for many Filipinos looking to buy a home that’s lived in, it’s important to ask about the history of a home.
Even if a person isn’t superstitious, they may not be comfortable living in a house where someone had died, especially if the person who died did so under violent or criminal circumstances. Similarly, a home with a history that’s associated with ongoing criminal activity will likely not be safe for the new homeowners.
If the home’s history isn’t an issue, ask anyway! Knowing why the owners are selling will help in understanding how much care the home needs before you can move in. It’s also a good way to learn what repairs the home has already undergone, so you can focus on more immediate damages that need fixing.
CAN I MOVE IN IMMEDIATELY?
Let’s say you’re satisfied with the answers to the previous 4 questions. Now it’s time to ask, “when can I move in?”
For some families, moving in immediately is just as important as the market price or type of neighborhood, especially if they’re moving to a new city or province because of work. If there are children who are of schooling age, there’s a narrow window for the family to move without greatly affecting their children’s education. Likewise, young professionals moving for work would want to move in right away and not have to double-spend staying at a hotel while their personal belongings wait in storage.
Ask yourself this question as well. If you’re simply moving to a more ideal neighborhood within the same city, then you have more negotiating power in terms of market price, and you can move into your new home when you’re ready. If you’re moving to an unfamiliar city, however, you may have a deadline you need to meet for moving in, and will need the help of a local real estate agent to find a good deal.
And there you have it: 5 essential questions you should ask when you’re looking to buy a new home. Let us know in the comments if these questions have helped you, and good luck with house-hunting!