Any large purchase typically requires a lot of research, especially if you’re not an experienced buyer. And this probably applies more to buying a house, the largest financial transaction of your life, than anything else. And that necessary research involves (or should anyway) asking a multitude of questions. But you need to know the right questions to ask before handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read on, then, to discover the 5 questions you need to ask when buying a house in New Jersey.
1. What are the neighborhood and the neighbors like?
Before buying a house in New Jersey or anywhere else, you need to know what the neighborhood and the neighbors are like. You can change most things about a house you don’t like. But if you don’t like the neighborhood . . . well, you’re just stuck.
You really need to like the immediate area you’ll be living in for several years or decades. You can find out a lot about neighborhoods on your own online. Still, your best resource is a local agent. To ask a New Jersey agent about neighborhoods, just call 855-966-DEALS.
Also, don’t forget to ask the seller about the neighbors. “Getting the true feel of a neighborhood,” experts say, “can be difficult before moving in, but this aspect shouldn’t be overlooked. Ask the seller what the neighbors are like. Noisy or quiet? Is it a pet-friendly place or are there few pets around? Are the existing neighbors friendly or more likely to keep to themselves?”
But “don’t rely solely on the seller to reveal these details because you might not get the full story.
Drive the neighborhood and stop and speak with neighbors . . . Neighbors are an excellent way to get information about the community that a seller might not want to share.” And, of course, consult your agent.
2. Does the house have any problems?
You also need to ask about any problems before buying a house. Yes, sellers are required to a disclosure form that lists known defects and problems, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will in fact disclose everything they should. And undisclosed problems can lead to major, costly repairs down the road.
Of course, you’ll have an inspection done, and this will certainly help. But inspectors don’t always catch everything, and some issues like some forms of water damage may be undetectable in the early stages.
So be sure to ask the seller about problems, issues, and defects. Even when trying not to disclose certain things, the seller may inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. And be sure to ask your agent about problems. Your agent will have a trained eye and may see things that others miss.
Also, a good way to go about determining whether a house may have any problems is by asking about the age of the roof and the major systems. “If a home’s roof is at the end of its lifespan and you wind up having to replace it shortly after move-in, you’ll be shelling out thousands of dollars. . . . [And] understanding the anticipated lifespan of essential systems and appliances, such as the air conditioner, furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, and stove, can help you anticipate major repair or replacement expenses.”
3. Why are you selling?
When buying a house in New Jersey, it’s also a good idea to find out why the seller is selling. Here’s why . . .
“Anything you find out here will be important. If the seller is dissatisfied with something about the house, you might be able to spot a dealbreaker before closing, and if the seller has a pressing reason for leaving, you might be able to negotiate for a better price.”
Of course, a seller may not be entirely honest about her reasons for selling, “but you might be able to glean something from a response by paying close attention. Your real estate agent can also dig in and get this information for you.”
4. How long has it been on the market?
And don’t forget to ask how long the house has been on the market. Buying a house that has been on the market for some time may allow you to get a much better deal.
“Many times, a home will languish on the market if it was priced too high at the onset, resulting in the need for multiple price reductions. A listing that shows multiple price cuts and has been sitting on the market too long may give buyers the impression that something is wrong with it. And that gives you a prime opportunity to negotiate a deal.”
But the other side of that coin is that the house may have been on the market for a while because something is in fact wrong with – another good reason to ask. The best course here is to lean on your agent’s expertise. Discover more by contacting a New Jersey agent at 855-966-DEALS.
5. Is there any risk of natural disaster?
You should also ask about a house’s natural-disaster risk because this can impact how much you’ll have to pay for homeowners insurance. Depending on the area and the location of the house in that area, you may be required to carry, say, insurance for hazards such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
But even it’s not an insurance requirement, if a house in a disaster-prone area you may wind up having to pay for such things out of your pocket. Be sure to ask about this, especially about whether the house is in a flood zone or near a fault line.
Ask Your New Jersey Agent
Perhaps the most important question to ask is one for your agent: Do you have plenty of experience in this local market? An experienced local agent can help you get the answers you need to all the other important questions we laid out above. So if you’re considering buying a house in New Jersey, be sure to contact us today at 855-966-DEALS.