Questions to Ask When Looking at Homes

First-time home buyers or experienced investors, everyone has questions when shopping for a new home.  Most questions are consistent and come up with every client but every now and then one comes up that surprises me.

Here are the most common questions we get from home buyers as we view homes for sale in Champaign County.  For a pdf download of these questions click Top 10 Questions When Buying a Home.

1.  How long have you lived here?
2.  Why are you selling?
3.  How old is the roof?
4.  How old is the furnace?
5. How old is the air conditioner?
6. What schools do children in this neighborhood attend?  (Grade, Middle and High Schools)
7.  Are you in the city limits?
8.  What are the real estate taxes?
9.  Do you belong to a homeowners association?
10.  What updates have you recently completed?

These questions are pretty straightforward but home sellers won’t always have the answers.   Sometimes they forget and sometimes the prior owners never shared that info.  Your Realtor should be able to find info on real estate taxes, schools, and how long they have lived in the home.  When you receive the info on the age of the roof, furnace and A/C you can use it to plan out your offer and to budget for repairs and replacement when you own the home.

See Homes Currently for Sale in Champaign County

When you look at real estate taxes keep in mind that these numbers are looking backwards in time.  Your taxes as the homeowner will most likely change.  The Champaign County Assessor will probably re-assess the property based off the purchase price so the taxes could be higher or lower than the current amount.  Ask your Realtor or use the Champaign County Assessors website to find the current assessed value of the home.

Below are a few more questions that either frequently come up or are questions we have found interesting.

What are the boundaries to the lot?  – Surveys are not included as part of a typical Champaign County home sale.  If you would like your purchase to be contingent on a survey be sure to mention this up front with your Realtor.   Surveys will cost approximately $600-850.  If you are planning to add a fence it can be a great idea.  Another great resource is this interactive Champaign County map. It combines aerial view with property boundaries.

– Can you run a home-based business out of the house?  (Check with local codes.  Many people may be doing it but that doesn’t mean it is allowed by the city.)

– How do I lower the Champaign County real estate taxes? (definitely check this one out)

– Can we raise chickens here?  (Urbana – sometimes, Champaign – probably not)

All kidding aside, you should be able to ask your agent any question you have.   If you don’t ask now it will be too late!  When buying a home get as much information as you can to make an informed decision and then act on it.  You’ll end up with the right house at the right price.

 Interested in how we work with home buyers?  Drop us an email or call my office at 217-239-7114 to learn more.

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