Remember when you found your first apartment in college? You probably didn’t think about which utilities you had to pay for or if the HVAC and plumbing was up to standard. Did you think about if you could walk to campus, or if your landlord would take care of the trash or snow removal?
When you’re buying a new home, especially if it’s your first time, you don’t want to glance over these important qualities again. To help you remember (mostly) everything, here’s Ryan Homes at Brunswick Crossing’s guide to the questions you should always ask your realtor:
Payment and Insurance
What is the lowest and highest range of similar, nearby homes that have been recently sold?
Why: This question helps prevent you from spending too much money on a home. With a price comparison for the principal amount, new homeowners can adequately account for the cost of amenities, location, school, public transportation, and more.
Do you have flexible closing cost opportunities?
Why: Most of the time, homeowners can negotiate closing costs. However, make sure you’re prepared to give a reasonable number, so you don’t lowball your new home or the realtor.
What are my financing options?
Why: Some builders work with banks and, as a result, may be able to offer financing options. However, homeowners can also choose his or her own lender.
What upgrades are available?
Why: You’ll never know what's available until you ask. If a stove is included, but you’re a gourmet chef, ask for an upgrade. If you’re planning on expanding your family, ask for an extra bedroom.
What are the environmental risks associated with this location?
Why: If your home's near a flood area, homeowners insurance may not be able to cover the potential damage. Also, it's good to know what to expect in case of a weather-related emergency or if installing solar panels or other eco-friendly practices is worth it.
Does the ground slope away from my house?
Like we said, if you live in a flood-prone area, this is important. Sump pump systems will help when it pours, but having the ground slope away from your home is a sure-fire way to ward off water damage.
Do you have the paperwork, including warranties and manuals, for the heating, cooling, and plumbing systems?
Why: Because most communities contract local companies to perform HVAC and plumbing maintenance, this helps homeowners verify what’s been done, so they can think about when to schedule a maintenance check or when the units should be replaced.
Can we conduct a self-home inspection?
Why: It’s important to see the quality of work being put into your home. (You should also ask for a home warranty, just in case.) When you take a walk-through with your realtor:
- Turn the faucets on and off
- Plug electronics into the outlets
- Open and close windows and doors
- Turn on the stove and oven
- Check the freezer and refrigerator’s temperature and light
- Test any locks
- Check the stairs for creaks
- Look at the walls for cracks, especially in the corners
- Play with the thermostat
What are the average monthly utility costs?
Why: Buying a new home is not an inexpensive endeavor. While you have to pay a mortgage and homeowners insurance, it’s also important to calculate a budget for utilities.
Location and Amenities
Is this location readily available for cable and Internet?
Why: In today’s technological era, people rely on the Internet for work and leisure. Check to see which cable companies offer service to your neighborhood.
Why: The local school system is a huge factor that many people glance over. Aside from identifying the district, your realtor should be able to tell you about the school's programs and achievements. For example, Brunswick Middle School social studies teacher Scott Strait was named the Frederick County Public Schools 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year.
Which amenities do I receive?
Why: You never know what you’re going to get with a monthly HOA fee. In our neighborhood, homeowners get access to a brand new community pool, outdoor fireplace, and pool house (complete with a fitness center and yoga and craft rooms). We also have more than 26 miles of paved trails and walkways, athletic fields and courts, tot lots, and future dog parks. Homeowners also recieve the benefits of recycling, trash pick-up, and snow removal.
Is there public transportation near me?
Why: Commuting isn’t easy, especially when you have to drive 30 minutes just to get to public transportation. At Brunswick Crossing, the MARC train is nearby to take you near Downtown Frederick and Washington, D.C.
How are the neighbors? What do they think about this community?
Why: When you move into a new home, you and your family are going to be there for years. It's good to know how pleasant the neighbors are and what they think about your growing community.
There are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to buying a new home, but definitely don’t be afraid to ask these questions so you know what you’re getting into. Before you stop by our neighborhood to ask a few questions, take our Perfect Day quiz: