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Top 10 Questions To Ask Before Buying A House

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When you are looking for a home, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement. Don't forget to take a breath and make sure you are making a wise decision. Read on for the top 10 questions to ask before buying a house.

  1. What does the market say this home is worth? Research how much similar homes have sold for to get an idea of what the property you are looking at should actually be going for. If the seller has it listed much higher, either make a low ball offer or walk away.
  2. What will my property tax liability be? When you buy a house, you have to pay annual property taxes on that home. The amount you pay is determined by the value of the home and land. Be prepared for this expense.
  3. What will my monthly payment be? You need to know exactly how much you have to send to the bank each month and make sure that fits within your budget. Stretching too much to get into a home can lead to financial problems or even foreclosure.
  4. Do I plan to stay here for at least two years? Generally, two years is the minimum amount of time you need to live in a home for property values to go up enough to cover your closing costs and fees associated with buying the home. Furthermore, if you don't stay in a home for at least two years, you will have to pay capital gains taxes on any profit made from the sale; if you live in the house for two years, much of those gains may be exempt from such taxation.
  5. Has this home been inspected A home inspection is designed to ensure that there are no problems with the home that are costly or difficult to fix. Banks and mortgage lenders usually require an inspection before financing a house.
  6. When was this home built? Older homes may have more costly problems (although they can be beautiful). Likewise, homes built in the 1970's may have more risk of lead paint problems than newer homes. You need to know when a home was built so you can know what to expect.
  7. Are there are problems with the home I should know about? In some states, home owners are required to disclose- but only if you ask. In particular, you should consider requesting information about a history of termites or other infestations, and about the presence of dangerous substances such as lead paint or asbestos.
  8. What is the neighborhood like? Property values are largely determined by where the home is located- compare, for example, the cost of a small home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles versus the cost of a home in downtown Detroit. Even within cities, the location makes a huge difference. Find out whether the neighborhood is viewed as dangerous (bad for the prospect of a future sale), established (property values aren't like to change too much but will probably rise a reasonable amount each year) or up-and-coming (property values could skyrocket, but only if the transformation takes place and the neighborhood becomes a coveted place to live).
  9. What is the school district like? Even if you don't have kids, your next buyers might. This makes this a huge factor when buying a home, since most people look for a good school district when making a purchase.
  10. What is going on in the housing market in my area? You will need to know whether it is a buyers market- so you can make low ball offers- or a sellers market, so you can decide whether to wait or take on the higher cost you may have to pay to buy a house.

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