If you’re looking to buy a home, you probably have a list of questions to ask about the property. You may have done research on the internet to find out what information you need to know. However, there may be some questions you don’t realize you should ask. Here are five of them to include when you talk to an agent about the next property you want to look at.
1. Does the house have polybutylene piping?
This is definitely not an obvious question if you don’t know what polybutylene piping is, but it’s an important one because it could alert you to potential expenses in the home. This material was used in homes built between 1978 and 1995, and it has a tendency to break. If you purchase a home using this type of piping, you may end up with more water leaks, damage to your home and expensive repairs.
2. What is radon and should I have it tested?
Radon is a naturally-occurring gas which develops as a result of the breakdown of uranium. It’s found in the soil and water of properties, and it can lead to lung cancer. 1 in 15 homes have elevated levels of radon, which is why it should be tested prior to a purchase.
3. How long does it take to close?
Depending on the loan product you choose and other variables, it can take between 35 and 50 days from the time you go under contract until you close. During the busy summer season, it often requires the maximum time.
4. How can you compete with multiple offers?
You have three options when you are interested in a property receiving multiple offers. You can increase the offer price, you can increase the amount of earnest money you include with the offer or you can have an escalation clause added to the offer. The escalation clause states that you will go up in price in certain increments up to a specific price to be the top offer. This ensures that even if someone puts in an initial offer higher than yours, the seller knows you will beat it.
5. What is the difference between a short sale and foreclosure?
When a homeowner attempts to sell a home for less than what is owed on it, this is called a short sale. They must get the bank’s approval to take less than the balance on the mortgage. At the present time only about 40 percent are being approved. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months while a foreclosure is already owned by the bank and the sale can be completed in 15-30 days.
These are just five uncommon questions you should be asking if you are interested in purchasing a home. Any time you aren’t sure about a term or you wonder how something works, you should contact your real estate agent or lender and ask them to explain it to you.
Michael Putnam is the founder and chief sales agent at Michael Putnam Real Estate, Northern Virginia’s top real estate agency.
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