Coronavirus - Get the latest updates and resources from MyWalletHero - Find out more.
Advertiser Disclosure

9 questions to ask when buying a house so you don’t get stuck with a money pit

9 questions to ask when buying a house so you don’t get stuck with a money pit
Image source: Getty Images

When it comes to questions to ask when buying a house, it’s not all about the neighbourhood. Sure, you might want to ask about neighbours, nearby schools or whether the house is in a flooding zone. But you should also ask some key questions about the house itself to avoid any surprises.  

Unless you’re buying a turnkey home, you should probably expect some repairs or renovations. But there’s a big difference between having to paint a wall and discovering that the roof needs to be replaced.

If you still have doubts after asking questions, consider paying for a house survey. This can help you catch issues that could be costly and challenging to address later on.

Start outside

When buying a house, many homebuyers focus their questions only on the inside of the property. Before you step through the door, consider these questions about the outside:

  1. How old is the roof? Roofs don’t last forever and at some point yours will need repairs or replacement. If the roof is more than 50 years old, chances are it’s not in perfect shape. Also ask about leaks and check whether the tiles are in good condition.
  2. Has the house had any recent structural repairs? Past problems can be a good indicator of problems to come. For example, if the seller recently fixed a leaky roof, you need to find out if there was any water damage.
  3. Are there any potentially hazardous issues to deal with? This is an important question to ask when buying an older house. Depending on when the house was built, there could be lead paint, mould or asbestos in some of the rooms. These are all delicate and expensive issues to deal with.

Step inside for some general questions

There are important questions to ask about the inside of the property when buying a house: 

  1. When was the last time the electrical wiring was updated? Old and substandard electrical wiring is not only very expensive to update but it’s also a hazard. Ask to see the breaker panel if you can – if it’s old, chances are the wiring is too. 
  2. What’s your electric/heating bill like? Old windows that don’t close properly and poor insulation might cause heat loss, resulting in sky-high utility costs.
  3. Have any of the rooms been recently painted? If yes, ask why and inspect the walls closely. Paint is sometimes used to hide cracks or damp, both of which could be signs of an expensive problem.
  4. Has the property had any home insurance claims? A history of insurance claims can give you insight into potential future problems.

Check the kitchen and bathroom closely

Last but not least on the list of questions to ask when buying a house are those related to the bathroom and kitchen:

  1. Have either of these rooms been recently renovated? If yes, make sure any changes meet local building regulations. Bad plumbing and poor quality materials or construction work can end up costing you dearly.
  2. How old are the drains? Replacing the drainage can be costly and cause major disruption, as walls and floors might need to be dug up to access the pipes.

What next?

If you’re looking for more ways to make your money work for you, why not sign up for MyWalletHero’s email newsletter? You’ll receive our team’s top money-saving tips, lifestyle hacks and handy personal finance ‘must-knows’ – delivered straight to your inbox…

Just enter your email address below to sign up now:

By checking this box and submitting your email address, you agree to MyWalletHero sending you emails with money tips, along with details of products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from future emails at any time. You also consent to us processing your personal data in line with our privacy policy, and our cookie statement. For more information, including how we collect, store, and handle personal data, please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.

Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.