Hey you, my awesome blog reader! In today’s post, I want to cover a bit more on the real estate side because this is probably the most frequently asked question when it comes to my buying-a-new-house post. And it’s about the questions to ask when buying a house.
Quick disclaimer – I’m not a real estate agent and to be honest, I didn’t do the best homework when I first bought my house. Now has been a rental property since I have rented it out.
But because I didn’t do the best homework and at some points have regrets here and there, I now know a lot better on what I should have asked before – to myself as well as to my real estate agent.
If you would like to learn more about how to secure yourself before committing to this big of a purchase in your life, then read on! 😊
You might also want to grab this book for more comprehensive questions to ask when buying a house: 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, Fourth Edition: With Answers from Top Brokers from Around the Country
More Related Posts From Me:
- How To Invest In Real Estate With Very Little Money
- Personal Finance Guide: Read This Before Making Any Investment
- 8 Investments You Don’t Want To Miss In Your 20s
The Importance of Asking Questions Before Buying A House
I’m pretty sure you know the reasons why you need to ask questions before buying a house but you should know that whatever checklist you have to ask your real estate agent now, it’ll never be enough.
I still find myself asking my real estate agent, the management of my apartment unit, even my bank questions regarding my house.
That being said, you should be able to come up with important questions before purchasing the house – depending on your situation.
I find that having a checklist to ask yourself is probably more important before even approaching a real estate agent. Because you NEED to be sure that you are ready to be a homeowner and bear all the extra costs that will come with it.
And you NEED to do your homework on the costs you will be needing to pay.
You don’t want to make the same mistakes I did here where I constantly have multiple surprise payments to make – even up until today.
I’m not kidding, I just got a letter from my bank regarding my houseowner insurance a few days ago – and have no idea on how to go about it. But yes, I did settle it once I called the management of my apartment unit.
It’s okay now – but wouldn’t it be nice to know how much you will be paying and when you will need to be paying for all these extra payments?!
What Are Some Factors To Consider Before Buying A House?
1) Your Current Financial Situation
The number one factor you should take a look at and consider before buying a house is your current financial situation. You should have a scan of your finances beyond the monthly commitment that you need to be paying. For example:
- Debt to earnings ratio
This will let you know how much of a percentage of your salary has been used to cover the debts that you have. Rule of thumb to be below 40%. 36% would be best. So do a simple calculation of how much you will be financing your debts out of your income.
You don’t want the percentage to be above 40% because let’s be real, there are other things you would want to do with your money too.
If you do have the percentage above 40%, try to come up with a simple plan on how you can get rid of some other debt first so that once you start buying a house, it will still give you room to buy other important things in your life too.
- Salary & Employment
This is not really on how much you’re earning – though it can give you an overview of whether you will afford to buy a house or not. But this is more in terms of the stability of your employment.
If you were to ask me, I wouldn’t consider it if I’m working under a contract or freelancing because I could lose my job or clients at any time.
That being said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a house at all if you’re freelancing – you just need to make sure you will have enough savings and probably want to make the business bigger that you can practically guarantee there won’t be any hiccups.
This is a given but outside of the savings that you will use for your down payment, make sure you have another set of savings to pay for other miscellaneous payments too. This could be for your renovation, house inspection fee, legal fees etc.
If you’re still saving or trying to save more, I would really recommend putting your money and grow your savings with CIT Bank. They have really competitive rates out there (probably the highest one I’ve seen so far) and your money is compounded DAILY. It can’t get any better than that. If you haven’t heard of them, you can check out their Money Market Account rates here.
2) Is It Better Than Renting A House?
There’s nothing wrong with renting. I will say this again, there’s nothing wrong with renting.
At times we do want to buy our own house so that we can have more flexibility in decorating the house, and sort of grow our roots there.
But to me, if it doesn’t make sense to buy a house, I would choose to rent. Hear me out.
If you don’t think you would want to stay at the location or the house for more than 10 years, I don’t think you should be buying a house there. Or perhaps you can foresee that you will be transferred to another part of the country soon, then I would suggest to keep on renting.
My parents made this mistake when I was young. Both of them at the time were working as government officials. They had built this big beautiful bungalow (not because we were rich, but it’s really easy for government officials to get 100% loan) which we only got to enjoy for less than 3 years.
Simply because both my parents were transferred to another part of the country. And we immediately went into financial crisis since my parents had to pay the mortgage PLUS another rent.
So again, if you don’t think you’re ready, you’re probably not. And it’s okay to rent.
This is not only for your personal timing, but the county’s.
When a country is undergoing inflation, the interest rate tends to be high, and you might want to reconsider buying a house at that time. Or you can consider a fixed-rate mortgage. (Though from my experience and others’, we tend to see better results with a varied-rate mortgage).
Then you might want to wait for the country to go through a trough or in decline mode. It doesn’t give a good signal for the economy, but you tend to have lower interest rates. Like now, if you’re reading this in 2021.
4) Location of The House
I’m pretty sure you know this as well but really take a look at the location of your potential house.
Is it near to your office? How’s the commute? Is there any public transportation to your office, so you can cut down on gas expenses? Is it THE location that you want to spend at least the next 10 years of your life in? Does it have all the criteria that you want in a location?
Take into account the distance from town, the distance to do grocery shopping, the local schools as well as the community of the place.
To me, public transportation is a must. So my perfect location will always be walking distance to the train or bus station.
But it might be different for you. So really figure out what you really want. Take a look at your lifestyle and see how you want the location to make sense on how you live your life.
What Question To Ask When Buying A House?
The questions to ask when buying a house that is ready is a bit different from the questions to ask when buying a new house. At least to me.
Since there are a few things you need to first check before buying a house that has been occupied before. A lot more inspections to do, I would say.
But fret not, I will try to cover many of the questions you should ask whether it’s a new or ready house.
What should you ask yourself before buying a house?
- Why do I want to buy a house?
- Do I have enough savings to pay for the down payment? & other miscellaneous payments?
- Do I have enough savings to decorate the house?
- What are the other debts that I have?
- How much can I afford to pay monthly for the mortgage?
- Does it make sense to buy a house now, given my salary & timing?
- What is the “perfect” location for my house? Near schools/swimming pools?
- Which part of the country/state I want to live in?
- How long do I want to live in the house?
- Do I like the community in that location?
- Have I done my homework and list down every payment I must make when buying a house?
- Where does my family like to live in?
- Am I really ready to buy a house?
What should I ask an estate agent when buying?
- Why are you proposing this house to me? Is it within my criteria or not?
- How much is the house?
- What is the total closing costs?
- Considering the loan agreement (interest rate and tenure), how much will I end up paying for the house?
- How much is the maintenance fee?
- How much is the tax in that location?
- What else is included in the house/ agreement?
- How old is the house?
- Is there any problem with the house?
- Why is the seller selling the house?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Are the appliances included? If yes, how old are they? Warranties?
- What’s the average selling price for similar houses in that area?
- Any problem with the roof? How old are they?
- Any natural disaster happened in that area for the last 20 years?
- Is it near electric poles?
- Any health or safety hazards?
- Who is the developer of the house? Are they still around?
- Book on buying a house
Just wrapping it up here. If you would like to get more ideas on questions to ask when buying a house, here’s the book: 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask, Fourth Edition: With Answers from Top Brokers from Around the Country
2. Investing in real estate
If you’re trying to buy a house for investment purposes but now you’re not sure whether you are ready to buy one, I would suggest a different route. You can read my guide here on how to invest in real estate without buying a house.
You can either invest in real-estate funds to which I recommend checking out Acorns to start investing with your spare change. There’s no minimum initial investment amount.
You can also invest in REIT. For REIT, you can check out WeBull as they are more comprehensive when it comes to REIT information and easier for you to start investing. Just like Acorns, they don’t take commission fees. So more cookie points for them!
Or, you can opt for crowdfunding. Fundraise is a popular one but if you want to know more, you can check out my post here to start investing in real estate with little money.
Will You Buy A House Now?
I hope you enjoy the post so far, leave a comment if you have any questions!
If you like this post, or find it a tiny bit helpful, I would appreciate it if you can also share it around to others so more people will benefit from this post 😊