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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home

Once you know what features you’d like your house to have and what you can afford, then it’s time to find a home! Start by browsing the MLS listings for houses that meet your criteria, and then contact your REALTOR® to discuss your choices and arrange home visits.

When you visit a home, it’s easy to be taken in by appealing features and aesthetics. But by keeping this list handy, you can be sure you stick to the home-buying criteria you set out for yourself.

How to use the Home Check List

Whenever you schedule a home visit with your REALTOR®, make sure you go through the entire list below. If there’s a question that doesn’t apply, skip it, or put a mark next to it. Remember to keep track of which house you’re answering the questions for so that when you review your notes, you remember which homes you liked.

General

  • How does the asking price compare to other houses in the neighborhood? Is it higher or lower?
  • Is the existing mortgage assumable?
  • What is the required down payment amount?
  • What are the annual property taxes?
  • Will the taxes increase with the transfer of deed and a new market price?
  • What are the local ordinances? Will you be allowed to build additions to your new home?
  • Could the home or part of the home be an income property that could be rented out to tenants or students?

Outside

  • How big is the yard?
  • Are there landscape details?
  • What level of maintenance will be required?
  • What is the age of the home?
  • What is the structural condition?
  • What major repairs or improvements will need to be made?

Inside

  • How many rooms and baths are on each floor?
  • Are there extra features such as an intercom, security system, central air or multiple fireplaces?
  • Are the appliances built in? Do they match?
  • Is there adequate insulation?
  • Is there weather stripping or storm windows?

Major systems

  • What is the age and condition of each major system (plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling)?
  • What type of fuel is the home heated with?
  • What is the average monthly utility cost?

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