When you start looking at a specific house very seriously, you should also get serious with your questions with the seller. There are questions that you should ask that are very important. Never be afraid to ask a question; the worst they can do (and sometimes will do) is not answer it, or lie.
Is anything wrong with the home? You must find out if there are any problems with the house. Read the disclosure statement carefully. Sellers are legally required to submit a disclosure statement that informs buyers about the home’s current condition. It also protects the seller against any future legal suits that the new owner might try to make if problems arise after the fact. Sellers must disclose things such as lead based paint, Chinese drywall, flooding, termite history, and problems with major appliances for example. However, because there might be some problems that the seller isn’t legally required to disclose..you need to ask them frankly: is there anything wrong with the house that I should know about that isn’t written on this piece of paper.
Have there been any issues with the house in the past? Sellers have to tell you about anything currently wrong with the house, but they do not have to tell you about past issues. However, its important that you find out this information because usually a past problem can be a recurring problem that you can expect to see when you own the house later on. They may have fixed the roof, but maybe they just patched it. Maybe there are mold spores in the attic from the roof leaking. Ask the seller if they have ever had to repair anything, what it was, and how it was repaired.
How old are things in the house? For example, when was the roof last replaced? Roofs usually last between twelve to sixteen years. So you need to find out the last time work was done to the roof. If the roof is already at 11 years old, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars to replace it in the next few years to come. You should also ask about the AC system(s), water heater(s), septic tanks, and the plumbing systems.
Has the home had any notable repairs or re-modeling done? And, by who? This is an important question to ask. You not only want to find out what major problems have gone on in the house, but you also want to know who they were repaired by. It can not only affect you financially, but also health wise. What if the electrician that fixed the faulty wiring is unlicensed and a fire starts in your house? Worse yet, maybe they tried to DIY it. Find out if the seller can show you building permits for any of the repairs or renovations that performed if they required one. If they can’t show you the building permit on a renovation that required one, bad sign. You can also check with the local building department; if you still can’t find a building permit, something shady is going on.
What is your favorite thing about living in your house? This is a good question to ask simply for your benefit. You can find out the good things about the neighborhood, the bad things. What great restaurants there are, and where they are. Which gyms are good, which ones are bad. Which neighbors to watch out for, and which ones are friendly. You should ask the seller what they love about the area and what they don’t.