Financial Advice

Four Crucial Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

Ask yourself these four crucial questions before you commit to buying a home.

Published Mar 14, 2018 | Updated May 8, 2024

Before you buy a new home, whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an experienced buyer, there are a series of important questions you should ask your sellers, your real estate agent, and yourself before you commit to buying a home. Some of these questions might seem obvious, but they’re each crucial to ensuring your home purchase is one you won’t regret. They’re certainly not the only questions you’ll want to ask yourself. But these four questions should definitely be on your list.

What is the condition of the home?

Even your dream home might have a leaky faucet, cracked tiles, or an odd slope in the backyard. Encourage your sellers to be as up front as possible about any small annoyances as well as potentially major problems with the house. It is imperative that you hire a qualified home inspector to do a thorough inspection so you know what you’re getting into. Even brand new homes should be inspected to ensure they were constructed properly.

What are the neighbors like?

Even the most perfect of homes could be ruined by obnoxious neighbors. Ask the sellers, your agent, and the neighbors about the neighborhood. You can always drive by the home to explore the area and take note of the activity and the noise level. If you have any questions or notice anything out of the ordinary, ask your sellers. Remember, you can always update the interior of a new home, but it’s not so easy to change your neighbors.


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What are the average utility costs?

Depending on the home’s age and condition, utility costs can vary widely. For example, even if you get an incredible deal on an old cottage, the great mortgage rate might be offset quickly by a higher-than-average electricity bill. Ask your sellers about their monthly utility bills. How much is trash service? What are their average energy bills? Does the electric bill vary greatly between winter and summer? Answers to these questions can help you determine how much renovating, if any, might be necessary.

What is the housing market like in the area?

Ask your real estate agent about recent trends. You’ll want to know whether comparable homes in the area are increasing or trending downward. Ask how long comparable homes remain on the market. It’s also a good idea to learn about the school district and anything else that might add to or detract from the home’s appeal.

Each of these questions can help you gather crucial information to ensure you’re not just buying a home, but making a wise and significant investment in your future.