Buying a property: 25 questions to ask during a visit
Last modified: 2021/05/27 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
When buying a house or a condo, the initial visit to the property is very important. This is the moment when you will be able to analyze the premises and ask questions to the owner in order to determine if the property suits your needs. Did you know that the latter has to answer them in all honesty? Therefore, it is your duty to gather all the necessary information so as not to have any unpleasant surprises regarding the purchase.
These questions serve both to inform you and to distinguish the properties you have visited, weighing the pros and cons of each of them. Your real estate agent will, of course, be at your side to support you, but it is recommended that you be prepared by creating a list of questions.
Checklist: 25 points to validate before making an offer to buy a property
Questions about the property
1. In what year was the house built?
2. What are its dimensions? And those of the yard?
3. What is included in the sale? (parking space, shed)
4. What do you think of the insulation of the house? And its soundproofing?
5. Do all the facilities meet the municipality's standards?
Before making an offer to buy, it is important to visit several properties in the same neighbourhood. You would be surprised at price variations for similar goods. Some offer, for the same price, a parking or a private shed, which generally makes the choice easier. Also make sure that all installations (swimming pool, artificial grass, basement layout) comply with the standards imposed by the municipality.
Check out: The 10 steps to buying a house
Questions about related spending
6. How much do you pay for home insurance?
7. How much do you pay for electricity and heating?
8. What are the municipal and school taxes?
For this type of question, be sure to check the invoices. Some homes with very bad insulation consume far too much energy, which creates exorbitant bills. Homeowners who want to sell their property at all costs tend to minimize these fees so as not to scare potential buyers, so be careful!
Questions about the state of the house
9. Have cracks been observed?
10. Has a pre-sale inspection been carried out?
12. Have you had any damage in recent years?
13. Is the house experiencing moisture or mould problems?
14. What is the reason for the sale? Is it relative to the state of the house?
In parallel with the questions, it is essential to visually inspect the state of the house. For moisture, inspect the windows and check the condition of the window frames. If you notice peeling paint or water on the windows, then there may be condensation issues related to high humidity. You must know that a humid home is far from being a healthy environment for its inhabitants.
It is highly recommended to hire an expert to inspect the house and get a complete picture. A building inspector will check all the visible and accessible components of the property (plumbing, heating, etc.) and detect if there are any potential problems.
Questions about renovations
15. Are there any upcoming renovations to plan for?
16. Have any renovation projects been carried out recently? If so, when?
17. Have the roof, the doors and windows, the interior or exterior cladding been redone recently? Are they still under warranty? Is it transferable?
When it comes to renovations, always ask to see the bills, not only to verify that renovations have taken place but also to see if the homeowner has carried out the renovations themselves. Indeed, some renovations are reserved for experts. If this work is done by a person who is not an expert in the field, it may be that the work was poorly done, or worse, that this will endanger the house and its inhabitants.
The report provided by the building inspector hired to inspect the house will also be useful to know if renovations need to be done and which are more important.
To know more about this expert, read our article: How much does it cost to hire a building inspector?
Questions about the neighbourhood
18. Is the neighbourhood calm?
19. Are there neighbourhood problems?
20. Are there future development projects?
21. Have you ever been robbed? What about your neighbours?
The issue of construction projects in the neighbourhood is very important. To this end, you should not be satisfied with the seller's response and should proceed to your own investigation on the internet. If you are sold on a house due to its calm setting and you suddenly discover the existence of a future project to build a large shopping center close to the property, you may want to second-guess your choice. So, don’t be caught off guard and educate yourself!
To make your own opinion of the neighbourhood, walk the streets at different times of the day (and night). What would be ideal (although difficult to achieve) would be to rent a house for a few days close to the one you want to buy to get a better idea of the neighbourhood.
Questions about co-ownership
22. Are renovation projects in the common areas coming up soon?
23. What is the amount of condominium fees?
24. Are maintenance costs included? And what about heating costs?
25. Can I take a look at the condo agreement? What are the main restrictions?
Question 22 should not be overlooked as it could cost you a lot of money. Renovating the roof of a building could cost somewhere between $ 3,000 and $ 10,000. The fees will be divided between the different co-owners and you may have trouble paying them.
Indeed, the purchase of a house involves fronting several expenses including the down payment, the notary fees, the welcome tax, not to mention your monthly mortgage. Believe it or not, adding renovation costs to the condominium could blow up your budget. For this reason, many prefer to buy a single-family home.
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