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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
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