In last week’s blog post, we shared with you six suggested questions to ask before making an offer on a home – insight from Long & Foster agents and managers. Here are five additional questions you should ask if you are considering buying a home.
What is the history of the house? According to Athena Petersen, manager of Long & Foster’s Reston, Virginia, office, “The buyer should always inquire about the guts of the house.” Find out if the major appliances are included and if so, when they were last replaced. Selina Delahanty, a real estate agent in Long & Foster’s Arlington, Virginia, office, also emphasized the importance of asking about the age of the roof and when the HVAC system was last serviced. You may not receive the answers you want, but the information can potentially save you money in the end.
Are there any encroachments on the house? An encroachment is an intrusion on a person’s property. “For example, if the house you are considering buying has a fence in the backyard, make sure the fence was built within the property line. If it is intruding on a neighbor’s property, after purchase, you may be asked to move the fence,” Petersen explained. You will inherit any encroachments on the house.
Are there parking restrictions? No matter the property type, there could be parking restrictions or limitations. For example, are there designated parking spaces? A driveway? Limited parking on the street? Guest parking? If you have multiple vehicles, be sure to find out these specifics about parking.
Is there an easement on the lot for the county to access? Easements allow someone else, often the county in which your property is located, to use part of your property. Easement terms vary, so be sure to ask for the land survey, which should include any easements that exist. While some easements end at the time the property is sold, others are inherited by the new owner.
How long will the process take once I have found my home of choice? Katherine Davis, manager of Annapolis Fine Homes, a Long & Foster | Christie’s office in Annapolis, Maryland, suggested finding out an estimated timeline, so you have a realistic idea of when you will close and be able to move into your new home. Once you make an offer, the time between contract and closing depends on several factors. Inspections, appraisals and financing all play a role.
While these are a few of the key questions to ask when buying a home, each transaction is unique, so be sure to ask your real estate agent for advice throughout the homebuying process.