Questions to Ask
Buying a home is a big investment, so you want to make sure that you are completely informed about details such as location and costs before you decide to purchase. The following are important things to consider as you inspect houses and look for a property that matches your needs and finances.
- Is the layout satisfactory for me and my family? Does it have the right number of rooms, storage, closet space and privacy?
- Are the ceilings, walls, and doors strong and in good condition? Some materials are better than others because they block moisture and cold air from damaging the inside of the house. If the walls and ceilings are not properly insulated, they can cause you to have unnecessarily high fuel costs.
- Is there adequate ventilation in the attic?
- In the basement: check out the age and condition of the water and home heating system. Ask to look at utility bills from both the hot weather and cold weather months. Look at the interior and foundation walls: things to watch out for are very large cracks in the walls, deteriorated mortar in brick walls, termite damage in wood structures and any other deterioration that looks like it needs to be investigated.
- Could there be water damage to the building? Look for water stains on basement walls and make sure gutters are properly aligned and cleaned.
- Pay attention to the fixtures in the kitchens and bathrooms so that you can see whether there is potential for a problem to develop later. Age of and past problems with appliances or sinks and bathtubs may lead to future leaks or need for replacements. Run water in the tub and the sinks, and make sure there are no signs of moisture on the walls.
- The location of the nearest shopping area, police station, school, your own place of work, and access to public transportation should also be important factors in your decision to buy a home. Ask the current owner or management company where some of these stores are, or take a walk around the neighborhood and see for yourself. Your comfort with the area you have moved to will greatly affect your experience in your new home.
- Finally, if you decide that you want to purchase a home and you know that it needs work, you should take the time to think about the total costs of remodeling or repairs. This will allow you to make a better decision about whether the home is affordable for you. If you need additional help with this, or more detailed information about how to make a "Consumer Home Inspection," visit Freddie Mac's website.
- If the property has a rental unit, find out the current legal rent or estimate the current market value. If the unit is occupied, get and read a copy of the lease.
HPD's Guide to Homeownership