You Ask, We Answer: What Are the Right Questions to Ask When Buying a Home?
Did you know the process of buying a home in Connecticut begins before you even view your first listing? This may sound counterintuitive, but knowing the answers to some key questions will help you and your Calcagni Real Estate agent more accurately navigate the home-buying process —and help you find the house that’s right for you and your budget. Here are five key questions you’ll want to answer before scheduling your first showing.
What is my actual budget?
Asking yourself about your actual budget is perhaps the most important question prior to buying a home in Connecticut—or anywhere, for that matter! While mortgage calculators may provide you a starting point, it’s crucial to remember that a homebuyer’s (and homeowner’s) budget includes fees that might not be top of mind.
Sure, there’s the sale price of the home. But you’ll also need to budget for closing costs, annual property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, a home inspection and any possible issues it uncovers that you might be responsible for fixing after closing, homeowners’ association fees if they’re applicable, utilities, and overall home maintenance, including things like lawn or pool care.
By taking a detailed look at what life will look like after closing, you’ll have a much better sense for what you can afford—and that will save you time, and heartache, as you begin your home search.
What’s this neighborhood like?
You may have fallen in love with that cute Cape with the black shutters, but if the neighborhood isn’t a good fit for your lifestyle, will you be happy living there in the long run?
Be honest with what you’re seeking: Do you want a sense of community, where block parties or association gatherings are the norm? Or do you prefer a more private lifestyle? Do you have a young family? If so, are you partial to living somewhere with other young families? Perhaps you’re a retiree hoping to make friends your own age. Will your potential neighbors fit the bill? And then there is the overall noise level of a neighborhood: Is it generally quiet by a certain hour, or are neighbors a bit on the noisy side? All of these factors can influence where you want to live.
Remember: There are no wrong answers, only the answers that feel true to you. Be sure to share them with your Calcagni Realtor.
Is there a history of past insurance claims?
Understanding a property’s history of homeowners’ insurance claims can help you make an informed decision on whether or not to buy it. Requesting a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report can give you insight into problems a particular home has had before you sign on the dotted line.
A CLUE report can pull information from the past 5-7 years to check if the home has had a history of fire, flooding, or other natural disasters. If you see repeated claims have been filed, you may want to discuss with your Calcagni agent, as it’s possible the property is prone to damage.
How old is the roof?
One of the biggest (read: expensive and necessary) price tags for homeowners is replacing the roof of a home. Roofs are an absolute necessity, and they can be a hefty expense, especially after just closing on a home.
Asking sellers the age of the roof—and having a very thorough and professional home inspection done to ensure it’s in good shape—provides critical information for you before buying a home. If the roof is 20 years old, your Calcagni agent may try to negotiate a new roof (or the expense of one) into the offer. If that’s not an option, you may need to consider budgeting for a new roof sooner than you anticipated. On the flip side, a newer roof will help give you peace of mind, and will allow you to save for replacing it somewhere down the line.
How old are the major appliances & systems in the house?
While the home inspection will no doubt provide you with answers to how old appliances are and whether or not they work, knowing the ages of the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, HVAC system, or boiler before you view the listing in person will give you food for thought when deciding if a house is right for you.
Older appliances that still work but may be at the end of their lifespan can end up being an expense for you sooner than you’d like—and that means you may want to budget for them up front…especially with ongoing supply chain issues that may affect delivery windows and availability.
With a little planning ahead of looking at houses with your Calcagni Real Estate agent, you can begin looking at houses that already meet your needs before you walk through the front door. How exciting is that?