When buying a home in a new area, it’s critical the right questions are asked before closing the deal.
Key Questions To Ask
Not familiar with the area? Here are 20 important questions that must be asked to your East Bay Realtor when buying a home in a new area.
Question #1: Why Is the Seller Leaving?
This question can answer multiple questions at once:
- It will tell you how motivated they are to sell, which could help with negotiations
- Are they downsizing? Relocating?
- If there are problems with the home itself (roof issues, plumbing, etc.)
- Neighborhood issues? (Bad neighbors, crime, etc.)
The answer to this question could play a key role in your decision to buy the house or look elsewhere.
Question #2. How Is The Neighborhood?
In addition to the questions asked previously, other neighborhood questions would pertain to the homeowner’s association and any restrictions (if any):
- Is parking a problem?
- Noise ordinances?
- Strict rules for homeowners?
- Lawn restrictions?
- Animal restrictions (no large dogs, etc.)
Visiting the neighborhood at various times to get a feel for the area is encouraged.
Question #3. How Are The Neighbors?
Having good neighbors can be a blessing, while the wrong neighbors can make life miserable.
- Are the neighbors friendly?
- Do they have kids? Pets?
- Night owls or early risers?
Question #4. How is the Commute?
Traffic in the area can hinge on many factors:
- Is the area highly populated?
- Is everyone coming and going at the same time?
- How long will it take to get to and from work?
- Adequate lanes for traffic? One lane roads?
Question #5. How Is The Neighboring Community/Amenities?
What establishments are close by?
- Grocery stores
- Shopping malls
- Public transportation
Question #6. What Direction is The House Facing?
This is important, because the sun shining directly into your house can impact electric bills and keeping the house cool. Also, will your bedrooms face other homes or busy streets?
Question #7. Are There Any Future Developmental Plans For the Area?
Inquire about the following:
- New housing developments?
- Shopping center?
- Train lines?
These and other projects could increase traffic and noise in the area, potentially reducing property values. In addition, new construction could obstruct your views.
Question #8. Is There a Potential For Rezoning?
In addition to developmental plans, knowing of any potential rezoning changes are important also. Rezoning occurs when original boundaries get rearranged to make way for roads, ordinances, structures, and other items. Rezoning tends to happen every 3-5 years but can occur more often if the area is growing rapidly.
Question #9. Are There Many Houses in the Area on the Market?
If there are many homes for sale in the area, ask the following questions:
- Why are people moving out?
- Is the neighborhood going through a transition?
- What type of people are moving in?
In 3-6 months, the area could look radically different from when you originally moved in.
Question #10. How Many Previous Owners Does the House Have?
A house that has a high turnover rate could be a sign there’s either something wrong with the neighborhood or the home itself.
Question #11. How Much Will the Utility Bills Cost?
Having an idea of what utilities will cost every month allows you to budget accordingly. Knowing which months to anticipate higher costs (summer or winter) is important also. In addition, some appliances might need replacing with more energy-conserving units.
Question #12. How Is the Parking?
This is important for families that have any of the following:
- Multiple cars
- Large SUV
- Mobile home
Will there be enough parking on your property? Can you park on the street?
Question #13. How are the Neighborhood Schools?
This is important for both parents and those who don’t have kids. In addition to giving your kids a quality education, good schools could increase property values.
Question #14. Will You Be Happy There Long Term?
Unlike renters, the average person buys a home and expects to stay there for 10-15 years or more. It’s important to ask yourself if you can imagine living there long term. If you have kids, can they grow up comfortably in the area? If close to retirement age, can you envision spending your golden ages in your home?
Question #15. Is there an HOA?
The homeowner’s association (HOA) helps keep neighborhoods tidy and organized. Some of their duties include landscaping and maintaining community facilities such as swimming pools and clubhouses. The HOA charges a fee that can be monthly or quarterly and enforce various rules in the neighborhood such as approving exterior paint colors and outdoor decorations.
Some HOAs are strict while others are a little more lax. Knowing the temperament of the HOA could be the deciding factor for some prospective homeowners.
Question #16. Is the Home on the National Priorities List (NPL)?
The NPL is a list created by the EPA. It consists of sites recognized for the known release or threatened release of hazardous pollutants, substances or contaminants in the US and its territories. It is estimated that 17% of the U.S. population lives within 3 miles of a NPL site.
Question #17. Is There Easy Access To Parks? Beaches?
Having access to nature can be a great way to relax and unwind. It’s also convenient for those who have pets or kids that there is someplace nice to take them close by.
Question #18. Are You Safe There At Night?
Realtors can’t elaborate on school district quality or crime. Each of these issues you will have to investigate yourself. A neighborhood can take on a totally new persona at night. Visiting the area multiple times (day and night) to get a feel for the area is suggested.
Question #19. Any Boundary Disputes With Neighbors?
These things can happen from time to time, but it’s important to make sure all boundaries are recognized and accepted before closing the deal and moving in.
Question #20. How Is The Broadband/Internet Service In The Area?
As more people work from home and spend more time at home due to lockdowns, having reliable internet access is critical.
Putting It All Together
Having the answer to these and other questions before moving in can eliminate any unpleasant surprises and heartache.
At Range Homes we pride ourselves on our ability to work with sellers to understand exactly what you want and to be transparent as to what is happening in the market and therefore what is achievable. Often sellers can be disillusioned by agents with big promises and no delivery. You won’t get that with us. Our agents are hardworking, passionate, and honest.
Looking to connect with a world-class real estate agent in East Bay with a community mindset, all about helping you achieve your property dreams? Get in touch with Range Homes today and connect with our friendly, professional staff, who are here to help. Contact us HERE.
Want to Know More About East Bay Real Estate?
While other states and territories have experienced a decline in housing prices the Bay Area real estate, in general, has remained strong. This doesn’t mean you should not diversify your portfolio across many states, but our East Bay CA Realtors agree that this is certainly a strong place to start for a novice investor. There are even some great low-cost homes that are ripe for renovation.
We have a team of friendly, helpful East Bay Realtors that specialize in East Bay real estate and property sales that can help you work out how to best get your property portfolio started. Our agents are here to put your needs first, get you the best deals and offers, help you buy or sell your dream home and build your investment portfolio. Reach out to our team today to find out your options.
If you are looking to find an East Bay Realtor, or looking for homes for sale in East Bay CA, or even to sell your home with someone who will make sure you get the best deal and understand your needs – look no further – when you work with us, consider yourself family.