Buying a home for the first time is an equally exciting and anxiety-inducing experience. For first time buyers, the excitement of owning a home can easily outweigh the need to be prudent and cautious. For others, anxiety sets in and they get stuck in analysis paralysis, unable to decide.
Whichever camp you belong to, says Elias Markos, a real estate developer based in Toronto, Canada, getting answers to a wide range of questions can help you slow down, calm down and make sound informed decisions. So, what questions should you ask your real estate agent before purchasing a home? Elias Markos suggests three groups of questions: price, condition and location questions.
These should be at the top of your list of questions to ask. Why? Because homes are all about equity — how much you put in and how much you can take out. Getting this balance wrong can result in negative financial outcomes. Here are some price-related questions Elias Markos recommends you ask:
· How much did the seller pay for the house?
· Does the seller owe the bank?
· How much have similar homes in the neighborhood sold for?
· How many offers have been received so far?
· For how long has the home been listed?
Next, you need to ask questions related to the condition of the property. This is important, says Elias Markos, because the condition of the house has a bearing on the final price you pay. For example, if the property has a major structural issue, this should significantly lower the price. Here are some questions you can ask about the condition of the property:
· How old is the house?
· When was the current roof put in?
· What type of foundation does the property have?
· Is the home insulated, especially the walls and attic?
· Has any major structural work been done recently?
· When were the appliances last replaced?
Lastly, you need to ask location-related questions. Elias Markos explains that this is perhaps the most important because the location is what helps make a home livable. Some location questions you can ask are:
· What structures are adjacent to the property? (E.g. business premises, office block, etc.)
· What demographic lives in the area? (Young professionals, families, elderly, etc.)
· Are there any schools nearby?
· How near are healthcare facilities?
· What other factors influence the location? (These are called nuisance factors and can include a busy road, foot, and motor traffic to commercial establishments like restaurants, etc.)
Ask but Act
Buying a home requires a mix of caution and initiative. If you are overly cautious, says Elias Markos, you may miss out on purchasing your dream home.
Similarly, if you are overzealous, you may end up purchasing a lemon which costs you money in the long run. The perfect approach is midway.
Ask as many questions as you can, but when the time comes, you must be ready to act. In so doing, you will be able to make informed decisions quickly that help purchase the right home.