5 Things Home Buyers Must Know
Last Updated: August 18, 2022

5 Things Home Buyers Must Know

All home buyers must know what to look for when viewing a home for sale. Find out what questions to ask during the viewing process and strategies to use when making an offer.

1. Check Behind The Paint

Sometimes a house on the market will look very nice on the surface, but don’t let the fresh paint and a new kitchen backsplash distract you from discovering potential problems behind the paint color. Some problems you could find are the presence of asbestos, mold, and lead-based paint. Take precautions when checking for these toxins.
Below Are Some Things to Look For During Your Inspection:


Homes built between 1920 and 1989 very likely have used asbestos during construction. If you see parts of the home’s structure degrading, it is important to check these areas for asbestos. If the construction appears to be in good condition, then you can leave it alone in the meantime. Refer to the Consumer Product Commission for more information about asbestos.


Mold will develop in damp and wet areas of a home, so be sure to check for any leaks around the house, look for water stains on ceilings, the appearance of dark shaded spots, and any musty smells. Read more about the facts of mold at the Center for Decease Control and Prevention.

Lead-based paint

This metal-based paint can be poisonous to you and your family’s health if it has been chipping or peeling. The best way to find out if a house has been painted with based-lead paint is to hire an expert to test it for you. However, this is something that a seller should disclose to you prior to the sale.

Take a trusted family member or a friend in the real estate industry with you as a second pair of eyes during your initial walk-through of the property.

2. Inspect, Inspect & Inspect

Many people move into their new homes only to spend money making expensive, unexpected repairs. Had they investigated more carefully during their home inspection period, they could have negotiated a reduction in the sales price or had the sellers pay for the repairs to offset these costs. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you hire a reputable, licensed home inspector who inspects the property thoroughly. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to a reputable inspector.

Good Questions to Ask During The Viewing

Are The Pipes Working?

Moving into a place with broken or old pipes can become an unexpected expense in the future, so make sure you ask if there have been problems in the past to assess estimates for future repairs.

When Was The Roof Replaced?

According to experts, a roof should be replaced every 20 to 50 years, depending on the material used. If you’re buying an older home, then it is particularly important to ask this question to see how much life the roof has left.

Have There Been Any Major Repairs To The Home?

Major home repairs can be any work done on the foundation, support beams, plumbing, or electrical wiring. Anything requiring substantial amounts of money and labor should be considered a major repair. If there have not been any major repairs, then you want your inspector to tell you if there will be the possibility of having to do major repairs in the near future.

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3. Have Sellers Get Rid of Junk

From time to time, you will find homes and yards full of the previous resident’s unwanted items. When making the purchase offer, ask your real estate agent to include contingencies to remove any items you do not wish to keep. Eliminating junk can cost you money because you have to pay someone to remove them and take them to the junkyard. If the seller removes the junk, this is one thing less you have to worry about when you move in.

4. Don't Rush

Buying a house can be an exciting moment in your life, and this excitement can easily make you rush into a purchase. Make sure you take time to get to know the neighborhood and surroundings first. Ask the neighbors questions about what the neighborhood is like; it is also wise to investigate further on your own.

Further Investigation

  • Check public records with the county to see what construction permits have been pulled in the past.
  • Check with your real estate agent or online property value websites to see what prices other homes have sold for in a particular area.
  • Use crime reporting websites to check what criminal activity is taking place in the neighborhood.

5. Strategize Before Making an Offer

Strategizing is an essential step in the process of buying a home. You don’t want to pay too much for the house, but you also don’t want to lose the opportunity to buy because your offer is too low.

Questions to Consider When Strategizing with Your Real Estate Agent

Why Are The Homeowners Selling?
It is possible the homeowners are in a hurry to sell because they are moving out of state, need to settle debts, or are going through a divorce. Knowing the reason for selling the home can help you create a better purchase strategy.

Does The Square Footage Match Public Records?
If the square footage on public records is less than what the sellers claim, it is possible there are unpermitted additions to the home. This will cause you to make a lower offer.

Is The Selling Price Similar to Comparable Homes In The Neighborhood?

It is always wise to make sure the price of the home is appropriate for the neighborhood because you may run into issues with your lender if the home’s appraisal value comes in much less than what you agreed to pay for it. Using the information at your disposal, you will be able to strategize better to buy a home at the best price.

At the end of the day, not all the homes you view will be perfect for you. Knowing what to ask and what to look for will give you better ideas about whether or not you will be able to repair the home to your liking or if it will be more appropriate to simply walk away from the deal altogether.

Photo credit: Alena Darmel

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