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Questions to Ask When Buying a Home

January 3rd, 2013 Personal Finance

Buying a house is a big investment, and while you may be eager to start your new life and establish your roots, there are a few key questions that you should ask before making the financial leap.

How much did the previous owner pay?

Hribar.com suggests asking the seller how much he or she paid for it. The original price is on public record, and knowing the cost will allow you to see the profit that's being made. This lets you know when you can ask for a lower price while still striking a fair deal that benefits everyone.

Have there been any structural issues?

After you make the initial investment, you don't want to incur further costs from damages and repairs. While older homes have great character and sometimes have aesthetically pleasing attributes like winding staircases and ornate molding, their age can mean structural problems. It's a wise idea to find a contractor or someone with construction knowledge who can ask the right questions and analyze the home to make sure that there are no internal or external issues. RealEstate.FindLaw.com suggests finding out how old the roof is and the type of foundation. You may also want to get the house inspected for any electrical issues that could cause problems later on.

What's the surrounding area like?

The home may be perfect, but the setting may not be. If you're raising a family, there are certain statistics and characteristics of your prospective hometown that you should be aware of. You may want to look at websites such as GreatSchools.org or School-Ratings.com to find out what the local education system is like. It might also be good to contact the police and look at crime rates in the surrounding area.