10 Must-Consider Questions When Buying a New Home
Buying a home is a serious undertaking, but it can be made must easier if you’ve done your homework in advance – the fewer surprises or last-minute decisions the better. We asked three Coldwell Banker Preferred real estate agents to help prepare a list of 10 questions buyers should consider.
- Can your monthly budget comfortably cover mortgage payments? Coldwell Banker agent Anne Hanson of the Media office says, “Basically, if you can afford the monthly rent, you can afford the monthly mortgage” if the payments are similar. But not without considering the next question:
- Do you have funds earmarked for all the out-of-pocket costs? “There are a lot of buyer closing costs involved,” says agent Keith Chadha of the Avenue of the Arts office, “including taxes, appraisals, recording fees and so on.”
- Have you worked out the buying and selling sequence? “While I generally recommend that people sell a present home before they buy a new one,” says agent Francesca Prieto of the Old City office, it’s important to think through all the contingencies, including potential unplanned delays, of switching one residence for another,
- Do you have a lender ready? It’s good to at minimum discuss with your banker or other lender in advance how much mortgage you can afford – and obtain.
- How much annual taxes will you incur? “Beside the property tax situation, you need to know what are the state and local income taxes,” especially if you’re moving into Philadelphia, Prieto cautions. And people relocating to Delaware are often delighted to find out that state has no sales tax.
- Do you have a good rapport with your real estate agent? “I always tell people to consider this relationship,” Chadha says, because a bad one can sour the process. “I try to sit down with people and have a cup of coffee after I show them a couple of houses to see if we are on the same page.”
- Have you kept up with the times? “Empty nesters are not always as knowledgeable about real estate as they often think they are,” Prieto warns. If you haven’t purchased a home in 20 years, for example, or want to switch from a single-family home to a condo or have a retirement home built for you, you may have some catching up to do.
- Are school systems and neighborhood playmates important? This is a standard but still important question for those with younger children or considering starting a family.
- Is the area where you are looking to buy on the upswing or downswing? Chadha thinks this is important when planning to switch to a new town or neighborhood. Have your agent check buying and selling prices over the past few years.
- If it’s not your current neighborhood, have you taken time to get to know it? “I tell people who are concerned with noise or the amount of daily activity to go there at different times of the day before they buy,” Chadha says. What is the situation with parks, on-street parking, rush-hour traffic, weekend activities?
To help find answers to these and other questions about buying your next home, find a Coldwell Banker Preferred agent in your neighborhood to assist you at cbpref.com.This is a paid partnership between Coldwell Banker Preferred and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio