Want to Know What to Look for When Buying a House? This Is Your Ultimate Buying a House Checklist
If you are starting the process of buying a house, chances are you are in need of a real “buying a house checklist”—all the details on what you need to buy a house, steps to buying a house, and questions to ask when buying a house.
That is exactly what this guide will offer you. We have broken up the buying a house checklist in three simple sections. They include:
- 4 sets of questions to ask when buying a house
- A list of 9 steps in buying a house
- A list of 5 top tips on buying a house
If you are wondering what to look for when buying a house, these are all the details you will need to keep in mind.
Questions to Ask When Buying a House: House Condition
Let’s start by jumping into the questions to ask when buying a house. We have them divided in four important sections.
What to Look for When Buying a House?
First up on our questions to ask when buying a house is house condition. This is what to look for when buying a house when it comes to wear and tear and potential costs that may sneak up.
This plays a big part in determining whether or not the price is right.
- Is there anything wrong with the house?
- Is there any mold?
- Is there any asbestos?
- Have there any been any infestations (of bugs, termites, etc.)?
- Is the roof old?
- Has the sewer ever backed up?
- How’s the insulation?
- How old is the plumbing/heating/electric/air conditioning?
- Is anything still under warranty? Is that documented?
- Where are the trees? Do any need to be cut down?
- How big is the water heater?
- Have there been any renovations or additions?
Questions to Ask When Buying a House: Costs
Next up on our questions to ask when buying a house is anticipated costs. This is what to look for when buying a house when it comes to what you can expect to pay outside of the mortgage.
- Is there an HOA? How much are the fees?
- How much are the property taxes?
- What are the average utility fees?
- Does the house fall under “flood territory”?
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Questions to Ask When Buying a House: Neighborhood
Now our next list of questions to ask when buying a house focuses on the neighborhoods location. This is what to look for when buying a house in terms of the people you are surrounded by and the amenities.
- What are the neighbors like?
- How are the schools nearby?
- Is there much noise in the neighborhood?
- What is the crime rate in the area?
Questions to Ask When Buying a House: Real Estate
Our final list of questions to ask when buying a house focuses on real estate questions. In fact, your realtor should be the person to answer most of them.
This is what to look for when buying a house in terms of understanding whether or not the price is right. And if 10 people have sold this house in 7 years, something may be wrong.
- What is this home’s history of sale?
- How flexible is the asking price?
- Is this the original asking price?
- How long has the house been on the market?
- When will the sellers move out?
Buying a House Checklist: Steps in Buying a House
Next up in what to look for when buying a house is understanding the process of buying a house. The best way to do this is to list out the steps in buying a house.
We have outlined the 9 most important steps in buying a house. Of course, everybody may have a slightly different situation. But this is a great starting spot for figuring out your buying a house checklist.
Steps to Buying a House #1: Get Real with Your Finances
First up on our list of steps in buying a house is taking an honest look at your finances. The most important thing is to understand what you need to buy a house in regard to your money.
- Credit: Is your credit high enough for a mortgage?
- Down payment: Have you saved enough for a 20% down payment? If not, look into private mortgage insurance or wait until it is saved.
- Monthly budget: Does your monthly budget leave enough room for the mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities, and all other expenses?
- Alternate Options: Look into alternate ways to finance your home (like an FHA loan).
Steps to Buying a House #2: Gain Knowledge with Research
Research is both one of the best tips on buying a house and one of the most important steps in buying a house. Research everything before you begin including:
- Areas you want to move to
- Types of homes you may be interested in
- Potential realtors
- Potential enders
- Property taxes in one area vs. another area
Steps to Buying a House #3: Make a list of Needs, Wants, and Deal-Breakers
After you have done your research, the next up for you steps in buying a house is making a list.
Buying a House Checklist
- Things you need to have in your home (example: enough bedrooms for the kids or enough counter space for cooking).
- Things you want to have in your home (example: granite countertops or wrap-around porch).
- Things you think are deal-breakers (example: a noisy highway nearby or mold).
Steps to Buying a House #4: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Next up on our list of steps to buying a house is to get pre-approved is the first step that actually goes beyond the initial planning/research phase.
Getting your mortgage pre-approved means the lender is committing to give you a certain amount. This can be time-consuming, but it leaves you with the peace of mind from knowing exactly what to look for when buying a house in terms of cost.
Steps to Buying a House #5: Find a Real Estate Agent & Search
Once you choose a real estate agent, start the search process with an open mind. See more homes than you may have originally considered. Try not to rush the process of buying a house. This is a huge purchase.
Steps to Buying a House #6: Make an Offer
Next up on our steps in buying a house is making an offer. An initial offer should consider all sorts of different factors such as:
- What other homes in the area are going for/have recently sold for
- The nation’s, the state’s, and the city’s current economy
- How long the house has been on the market (if they’ve been waiting longer than a year, they may take a lower offer)
You may think your realtor will know the perfect offer price every time, but do not leave it entirely in their hands. Do your own research and choose a number that feels and looks right to you.
Steps to Buying a House #7: Choose the Ideal Mortgage
Since you have gone through the early steps in buying a house, you should already be pre-approved for a certain amount. But you will still need to decide what type of mortgage to get.
Some of these options include:
- Fixed rate mortgage
- Variable-rate mortgage
- Government mortgage (like an FHA loan)
- Conventional mortgage
Steps to Buying a House #8: Go through Inspections and Appraisals
Sure, the steps in buying a house may have brought you to your “dream home,” but the inspections and appraisals will tell you the real story.
You do not want to end up buying a house that looks amazing but will end up costing you a fortune in repairs.
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Steps to Buying a House #9: Close It Up
The last of our steps in buying a house finishes up the process of buying a house. Normally it takes multiple weeks for the sell to be finalized and the property to transfer from them to you.
Top Tips on Buying a House
Now you have read through the questions to ask when buying a house and the steps in buying a house, it’s time to finish up with the top tips on buying a house.
These tips on buying a house are thing some people may not consider, but could help them in the process of buying a house.
- Stop by the house morning, noon, and night before you put in an offer. This way you can see if anything is out of the ordinary throughout the average day.
- Balance emotions and logic when figuring what to look for when buying a house. Of course you want it to “feel” right, but it also has to actually be right.
- Don’t make any other big purchases until you’ve finished the steps to buying a house.This could complicate your credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
- Think about resell value. You never know when or why you may want to sell your house.And you may not be figuring out how to sell it when you’re still figuring out what you need to buy a house. But it’s great to keep in mind.
- Don’t pay attention to staging. Once you own the house, all the pretty flowers and furniture will be gone.Really try to look at the bare bones of the house.
Read More: How To Sell Your House Fast in 30 to 60 Days
Conclusion—What You Need to Buy a House
Now you have all the important info you need to start the process of buying a house:
- Questions to ask when buying a house
- Steps to buying a house
- Tips on buying a house
Simply start moving through the steps in buying a house, ask your realtor and the homeowner these questions to ask when buying a house—before you know it, you could be in your dream home.
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