Real Estate Questions to Ask When Looking at Houses

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    • Before purchasing your dream home ask the right questions.house image by kruszek from Fotolia.com

      Ask a lot of questions when shopping for a home. This is a huge purchase and you will most likely have to live with it for years, so you want to make sure it meets your needs now and in the future. Usually the seller or the seller's agent will supply the answers. Most buyers remember to ask questions about the local school district, available utilities and current property taxes. But there are many others you should ask.

    Disclosure Statement

    • Ask for a copy of the seller's disclosure statement, if one exists. This form lists material information about the property, such as past repairs, property improvements or property defects. A seller, who fails to state in writing any property defects prior to the close of escrow opens himself to legal liability for the repairs.

    Foreclosure

    • Find out if the property is currently in foreclosure or faces foreclosure proceedings in the future. Troubled homeowners facing foreclosure often attempt to sell before losing the property. A buyer needs to know if there will be enough time to close escrow on the property before the lender forecloses on it.

    Insurance

    • Ask the seller for a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report, referred to as a CLUE Report. The seller obtains this from his insurance company. The report will show any recent claims against the property. The status of a seller's CLUE Report influences the buyer's insurance rates if the home is purchased. For example, if the seller filed claims due to severe flooding in the basement, a future insurance company might see that as a red flag for future mold claims.

    Improvements

    • Ask the seller if he made any improvements to the property, such as room additions or remodels. If those additions required building permits which the seller failed to obtain, then you might be purchasing a house where a portion of the property needs removal to make it compliant with local building codes.

    CMA Report

    • Ask what comparable houses in the neighborhood sold for within the last six months to determine what you should offer for the property. If working with a real estate agent, the agent should be able to prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the property.

    Roof

    • Ask about the age of the roof and roof type. If it is a flat, hot mop roof which requires regular maintenance, ask about the seller's roof maintenance schedule. Replacing a roof will cost a lot of money, so ask questions to determine if the roof is in good shape or in need of repair.

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