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Buying a New Home? Questions to ask...

Buying a home is an exciting milestone in a person's life. It is probably the most important and valuable purchase you will ever make so it is not a decision you should make without careful consideration.

When buying an expensive electronic item like a television or computer, you usually would not purchase the first one you see. You would most likely research the specs and features to make sure that the item can meet your specific needs. You may read reviews. You may even shop around and compare different items to get the best value. It should be no different with a home. Before purchasing your new home, you should have all the necessary information to guide you so there are no surprises after making the purchase. Oftentimes buyers end up regretting the purchase as they discover new information after they move in. To avoid this, take the time to learn as much as you can about your potential new home. Do not be afraid to ask your realtor probing, in-depth questions to make sure you have all the information you need to help you make your decision. For example, how old is the home? Why is the previous owner selling? How is the neighbourhood? You may find that the answers to these questions will make you more confident to make the purchase or they may change your mind entirely. Either way, you will make an informed choice. Reasons for selling If the home has a previous owner, one of the first questions you should ask your real estate agent is why is that owner selling? The answer to this question can give you some insight as well as potentially save you money. If the owner is selling because they are moving away for a new job and they want to sell within a specific time, they may be willing to negotiate on the price. If they are selling because they do not like the neighbourhood, this can be an indicator for you to better research the neighbourhood to make sure it is the right fit for you. You may also want to ask how long the previous owner had lived there. This might also cue you in on any potential problems. Questions about the neighbourhood Ask about the housing market in that particular neighbourhood. Is it a neighbourhood popular with buyers? Or are people always trying to sell and move out? This could let you know that the neighbourhood is undesirable and there is little resale value. The neighbourhood may be flood-prone, experiencing a stretch of foreclosures or a number of things that may be the reason for people not sticking around for long. The location of your potential home is also important because you want to make sure it is situated conveniently. Is it difficult to commute, is it near to schools, shopping centres, hospitals? Is it noisy? The answers to all these questions may help you decide whether or not to purchase. You should also take note of how long the home has been on the market. A home that is having difficulty finding a buyer may indicate problems. Hidden problems You will absolutely want as much information as you can get about the house itself. Legally, a seller has to disclose any problems with the house and give a truthful picture of the state of the property. However, there are dishonest sellers out there who will attempt to conceal problems with the property that you may not notice until after moving in. Ask about how many previous owners there were and how many times the house has been placed on the market. If the home has been bought and sold frequently over the years, this may indicate a problem that previous owners discovered. Some sellers will be honest but they will not volunteer information unless you ask directly. Make sure you ask about damage to the property, potential repairs that may be needed, the previous owner's maintenance schedule or work that has been done on the home. You may find that some are issues you are willing to accept or they may be issues you cannot look past and you should continue house hunting. Also, be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of underlying or hidden problems. Mould or mildew will indicate water damage, wood dust may indicate termites or other insect damage. Take your time to inspect the property to avoid costly issues later down the road. Price Of course, the price of the home is important. You may find a home that you absolutely love but the price is suspiciously low or out of your budget. Be sure to ask the value of the home before you buy. A selling price way below the value of the home suggests that the owner is anxious t