Buying a house will probably be one of the most important purchases that you’ll ever make. That being said, it’s crucial to be very well prepared for when it happens and to know how to ask all the right questions before making the final decision. House hunting is not an easy process; it can get pretty messy and stressful, and it will be vital for you to learn how to handle the situation appropriately, to yield the most favourable results.

In this article, we’ll list some of the most important things that you should look for when buying a new home, and some of the questions that you should go through with yourself and with your real estate agent.

What Are You Looking For?

The most important thing that you need to understand before going house hunting is the difference between what you want and what you actually need; that’s the starting point for you in order to figure out what you’re looking for.

There are several aspects that you have to consider, starting with your budget. Does your current financial situation allow you to make this purchase? Can you finance the whole amount or do you have to go for a home loan? More often than not, the latter option is a necessity, as real estate prices often command such prices that are simply out of reach for many people. This leaves the prospective buyer with a choice to either go to a bank or lending authority to acquire the finances necessary for purchase. Fortunately, whether you’re living in the US, Europe or Australia, there is no shortage of online services that can help you to research and compare home loans before you decide on the most appropriate one for your current situation.

Note this process can take some time and indeed we recommend you take your time investigating all possibilities before you sign over the next 20-30 years of your life. Afterwards, you need to have a conversation with yourself and your family and answer a series of questions that will help you make the right decision during your house hunting process. First of all, ask yourself if the property that you like can offer you what you need. Think a little bit into the future; does this place have the potential to become your little dream house? Are children part of the equation and will there be enough room for all to be comfortable? Of course, you’ll never find a place that’s affordable for you and also all that you’ve been dreaming about, but some places have the potential to become what you want.

There are some other relevant questions that can influence your decision: Is the place close to public transport? Is it in a safe neighbourhood? These things might not seem so important at first, especially if you really like the house itself. But in time, you might regret the decision that you’ve made because you didn’t ask yourself these kinds of questions.

What to Ask the Real Estate Agent?

The key with real estate agents is to get yourself one that you can really trust. Don’t just pick any person that you see in an internet ad; these people are legally bound to tell you the truth when it comes to a property, but they have a lot of ways to hide things from their clients without actually breaking any laws. Therefore, you need to make sure that you know what kind of questions you need to ask your real estate agent when you’re in the process of buying a new home:

  • Why is the owner selling? You can be very surprised by the answer to this question. Also, if you find out that the owner is desperate to sell, you might just get a better deal.

  • Is the house up for sale for a long time? If you find out that this house has been on the market for a long time, maybe there are some issues with it that you haven’t noticed yet. The answer to this question can really impact your decision.

  • How many families have previously owned this place? If this place has a new owner every other year, there might be a reason why people keep leaving.

  • What is the best deal that you can get? As mentioned before, owners might be desperate to sell, and after asking this question you might be able to settle for a lower price. It is important to know how to negotiate this kind of purchase.

  • Can you speak with the owner? Your agent won’t be happy when you ask this question, but it’s in your best interest. Having an honest, genuine conversation with the owner could really help you decide whether you’re making the right decision or not.

Buying a new home can be a difficult process and it can cause a lot of stress for you and your family. Besides research, which is the key to ultimately making the right decision, going through these kinds of questions and checklists mentioned above, can make the difference between buying a ‘white elephant’ and dream home.