When you buy your first house, you have tons of questions. How do you get the right answer? Make sure you ask the right person.
Your boss, your real estate agent, or your Uncle Jim might know something about mortgages. But for specific questions, go right to the professional—your mortgage lender.
A few questions no one can answer as well as your lender include
- how much money must I put down
- what is the interest rate I qualify for
- is my credit good enough to get a mortgage
- how much can I afford to pay for a house
- what is the monthly payment for a particular house
A smart real estate agent or even a bright home buyer can find answers for you. But loan products have different down payment requirements. Interest rates change based on your credit score. And online calculators can lie.
So go to the expert the first time.
Questions about finding a home to buy
First home buyers spend hours searching real estate listings online. It’s a great way to learn a few things. But it won’t give you the information a smart professional real estate agent has right at her finger tips.
Here are the questions you need to ask a real estate agent
- are houses in my market currently selling for prices close to the listing price, for less than the listing price, or for more
- how much should I expect to pay for a house with the features I want
- where am I most likely to find a house that fits my price range and list of features
- are there any nearby environmental or neighborhood problems I should know about
- how long has a house been on the market
Real estate agents have the most updated information. Look online. But rely on local information for the best results.
Questions about a house’s condition
Sure, you can ask the seller to explain the crack in the living room ceiling. Your real estate agent might have some speculations as well. But why not go right to a professional? The home inspector you’re paying to keep you from making a bad choice.
Ask your home inspector if you want to know
- whether a crack in the foundation is cosmetic or a potential sign of structural problems
- if the roof has much life left in it or needs to be replaced
- why the floors in a house slant
- whether a house has modern electrical, plumbing, and heating systems
- if a house looks like it has been maintained well by its current owners
The more houses you look at, the smarter you’ll get. But you’ll never be as smart as the inspector who has been inside 200 houses last year.
Ask the right person, get the right answer
People want to be helpful. So if you ask them, they’ll try to answer your question. Just be aware that buying a house is complex. It’s worth relying on the specialists to get the right answer.