Viewing a House Checklist: Key questions to ask when buying in 2023

WORDS: Diana Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Buying a house is one of the most significant financial decisions most individuals will make in their lives. It is a process that requires careful consideration, thorough research, and prudent evaluation. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, viewing a house before purchasing it is a crucial step in the home-buying journey. However, this process can be overwhelming, especially if you are unsure of the right questions to ask during the viewing. To make the most informed decision and ensure that the house you are considering is the right fit for your needs and preferences, having a checklist of key questions is essential. Here are a few of the most important things you need to know when looking for a new house.

The Location

One of the primary factors that can significantly impact your daily life is the location of the house. The right neighborhood can enhance your lifestyle and provide convenience, while the wrong one can lead to regret and frustration. When viewing a house, it’s essential to ask about the neighborhood’s safety, crime rates, and proximity to essential amenities such as schools, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, and recreational areas. Consider the daily commute to work and evaluate the accessibility of public transportation options. Additionally, inquire about any potential upcoming development projects in the vicinity, as they may affect property values and the overall quality of life in the area.

The Layout

The layout and space utilization of the house are essential considerations when viewing a property. Ask about the total square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and any additional rooms or spaces that might suit your lifestyle, such as a home office or a recreational area. Evaluate the flow between rooms and the amount of natural lighting within the house. Try to envision how you will use the space and whether it accommodates your present and future needs. Consider factors like storage space, closet sizes, and the availability of garage or parking facilities. It’s crucial to ensure that the layout aligns with your preferences and offers the functionality you require.

The Specifics

As you step inside the property during the viewing, it’s crucial to delve into the specifics of the house itself. Ask about the age of the house and any recent renovations that have been undertaken. Inquire about potential repairs that might be needed in the near future, such as roof repairs, plumbing issues, or electrical system updates. Dealing with these things on your own might not be a good idea, though, especially when it comes to plumbing. This is why you should stick to a professional, and if you’re located in Australia, for example, it’s better to stick to a knowledgeable plumber from Aspley who knows how to make your plumbing system as good as new. Understanding the current condition of the house will help you gauge potential future expenses and negotiate a fair price.

The Sustainability

In recent years, sustainability and energy efficiency have become growing concerns for homeowners. When viewing a house, don’t forget to inquire about its energy-efficient features. Ask about the insulation, windows, heating, and cooling systems. Energy-efficient features not only contribute to a greener lifestyle but can also save you money on utility bills in the long run. If possible, request information on the average monthly energy costs to gain insights into the property’s overall efficiency. Additionally, inquire about the availability of renewable energy sources such as solar panels, which can further reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to cost savings.

The Outdoor Area

Beyond the house itself, the outdoor spaces are equally important to consider. Ask about the size of the yard and the level of maintenance required to keep it in good condition. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, inquire about the possibility of adding a garden, patio, or outdoor entertainment area. Consider the privacy the property offers and the presence of any shared spaces or community facilities, such as parks or pools. Assess whether the outdoor area complements your lifestyle and preferences, as it will play a significant role in your day-to-day activities and overall enjoyment of the property.

The Finances

As a potential homeowner, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of the property. Inquire about the asking price and gather information on recent comparable sales in the area to assess whether the price is fair and competitive. Understanding the local real estate market trends will help you make a well-informed decision during negotiations. Additionally, ask about property taxes, homeowners association fees (if applicable), and any other recurring costs associated with owning the property. Armed with this information, you can gauge the property’s financial feasibility and potential for appreciation in value over time.

Viewing a house with a comprehensive checklist of key questions is an indispensable tool for any prospective homebuyer. It enables you to gather essential information, evaluate the property objectively, and make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and aspirations.