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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Burr

What To Ask About When Buying a Home

Updated: Jun 5

Buying a new house can be one of the most exciting times in your life, while at the same time being one of the most stressful.  It’s one of, if not the biggest, investments an adult makes and is a crucial factor in your quality of life from that moment going forward.  As a result, it’s extremely critical that you are asking the right questions before take the plunge, both to the seller and to yourself.  Here are five subjects to ask about and consider:

The age of the roof:


There’s a handful of signs that a roof may need to be replaced, such as cracked shingles, curled shingle edges, or that the roof just looks old and worn out.  The cost to replace a roof made with asphalt shingles is far from pocket-change, averaging at $7,500.

Here are the average lifespans of the popular roofing materials:

  1. Asphalt shingles: 15 to 20 years

  2. Wood shakes: 20 to 40 years

  3. Metal: 40 to 80 years

  4. Architectural asphalt singles: 24 to 30 years

The costs to replace your roof are even higher if it’s not made of regular asphalt shingles or if you choose to invest in a different roofing material.  It’s important to know the age of the roof, as a small difference in price of two houses you’re scouting may be eliminated by the cost of having to replace the roof the following year.

Previous infestations:

Ask the previous owner if they had to deal with any infestations during their time at the home.  If they have, it’s possible the problem has persisted or is likely to come back as it is difficult to completely eliminate pests and the conditions that attracted the pests in the first place may still exist.

Sewer backup:

When trees and other types of plants get older, their roots can find their way into sewer lines causing them to clog.  Sewer backup is a filthy problem that no person on this Earth wants to deal with, especially considering most regular home insurance policies don’t cover it.

Utility systems:

Utility systems can be very costly to repair or replace, making it extremely important to find out the age and quality of the current systems.   Some things you should ask about include:

  1. Electrical

  2. Plumbing

  3. Water

  4. Heating

Asking the previous owners about how much they typically paid for utilities is essential as well, as utility costs add up quickly.

The neighborhood:


The neighborhood/area you live in makes a huge difference in you and your family’s quality of life.  You’re not just buying a home; you’re also buying yourself into everything around it.  Some important things to research are:

Crime rates:   Researching the crime rates in the area you’d be living in becomes even more important if you have kids, as no parent wants their children living in a dangerous neighborhood.  Aside from your own research, asking the neighbors about how they feel about the safety of the neighborhood can provide you with good insight.

Schools:  Also very important if you have children, you’ll want to research the school district that you’d be living in.  Even if you don’t have/don’t plan on having children, your future buyers may consider it a deal breaker if your house is in a sub-par school district.

Lifestyle:  How close if your home from the place you work, public transportation, restaurants, shopping centers, and from the things you enjoy doing?  It’s important to consider whether moving into the home will make your life easier or more difficult.


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