9 Questions to ask when viewing or buying a house

For most people, buying a house is a really big deal.

It may be that you are only planning on living there for a couple of years. It could also be your intention to live there for an extended period. In that case, it is even more so important that you are especially careful in doing your due diligence. You want to make sure that the house has all the different aspects that you value so much. 

No matter if you’re buying a house or looking at putting a significant amount of money into the stock of a company, you want to ensure you’re making the right decision.

After all, you’re talking about a decision that will have major financial consequences for you and your family. Making sure you buy the right one will help lower your stress levels by providing you with the functions you seek. You will naturally not want to make a mistake. Otherwise, you would have to endure the consequences for years to come. You’re now on this page, ensuring that you are properly prepared for what lies ahead. To make sure you don’t make any major mistakes.

It only makes sense that you take the time to evaluate all your various options carefully. Your decision will have such a massive financial impact, as is the case with purchasing a house.

You may consult real estate agents, financial advisors, mortgage lenders, and other pros. It is ultimately your decision whether this is a journey you choose to embark on or not.

You’re not just investing your life savings into this project – you’re investing your happiness. If your family is like most American families, you won’t be bought with funds that come out of your pocket. This will mean you will have to get the funds from somewhere else. That will mean they have to go out and borrow the funds in most cases. The most common way to do so is by getting a mortgage.

That means is that you are committing to paying payments on a loan for 30 years before being debt-free. That is unless you choose other types of less conventional financing.

You’re not just making a massive financial commitment. This is potentially something that could be changing your life at the very least. It’s where you will end up living there for the foreseeable future. 

If you are one of the people that will visit a house briefly and then put in an offer, this page is for you. You may want to consider if it isn’t at least worth asking all these relevant questions before proceeding.

There may be a certain pressure from a real estate agent showing a house to get you to commit or not in a speedy manner. Remember that this is an asset you buy for yourself and not for your real estate agent. 

You owe it to yourself and your family to make sure that you’re not just jumping into a decision that you won’t be happy with. It is a thing that will require several things, but make sure you ask the right questions. It is an important part of finding and buying that house.

A list of the most important questions you can ask

This may not be an exhaustive list of all the different questions you can ask throughout the process.

Questions to ask
AmenitiesNoise sourcesMarket conditions
Hospital, grocery store & shoppingHOAIssues
Coffee shops & moreCompsLead paint

1. What are the amenities around the area?

It’s a good way for you to get started. You may want to figure out whether or not the community and neighborhood offer important amenities. These are real things that you should be asking before you end up making an offer.

These are good questions to ask the real estate agent when you see the house. They should be able to give you a better understanding of the situation. 

What are the surrounding schools like, and are they known locally to be of high quality? If you have to buy a house and move to a different country, it is very good to ask a real estate agent. They should provide you with more information on the school district and how they’re ranked.

2. Where is the nearest hospital, grocery store and shopping area?

Where is the nearest hospital? What about other services such as grocery stores and shopping areas?

woman at grocery store

Will I need a car to go to them or within walking distance? While you might do your research, it’s your time to get some feedback from the real estate agent. That includes having them answer such questions.

3. Are there any good coffee shops around?

You can look up the grocery stores in the area, but there is a chance that you won’t know everything that the area has to offer. The real estate agent can help you better understand everything the area offers.

woman at coffee store

How will you know about that cute little coffee shop where you may pick up a coffee here and there? You could take a leap of faith and find out as you decide to move there. The more rational way to go about it would be to ask the real estate agent about these things.

If they are a good real estate agent, they will have had many different listings in that area. Answering some of these questions will not be an issue for them.

4. What are the noise sources in the area?

Are there any train tracks, construction, or other noise sources in the area that could be annoying to live next to? How much of an issue are they, and how often do the trains go?

looking out a train window

Do you know if it is something that was bothering the owners? Is there anything they have ever commented on?

They are there to sell a home, but it is often also easy to figure out if someone is being truthful with you or not. It would help if you also did your own research on these issues. Someone who values their image and tries to keep up a level of professional integrity will at least mention these things. That way, they don’t become issues later during the due diligence process.

Real estate agents know that things may come up that means a sale may fall through. There is a reason why offers on a home are often contingent, as the potential buyer is researching various things.

For instance, it is very common that buyers require that an old home be tested for lead paint. You can use various EPA-approved kits for this purpose. Families maybe reluctant to move into a home if there are safety concerns in the building, especially those with kids. 

5. What is the situation with the HOA?

Is there an HOA and how active are they? How much does it cost, and what do they require of homes in the neighborhood? It may seem tedious that you have to pay money to an organization every single month.

Boy playing at playground

They often both offer many advantages but may also be able to keep a certain level of cleanliness. Commonly, the HOA will start acting up when families don’t cut their lawns. If there is a home with a bunch of junk that they need to get rid of, the HOA may step in. When junk is left on the front lawn for extended periods, the HOA will take action.

You might prefer to have that money in your pocket, but having an HOA ensuring these can make a neighborhood attractive. This can help drive up property values. You are just investing in keeping everything running properly. A good HOA will also offer so much value to the residents from its services. It means the house prices will increase so much that the HOA is a good investment.

They may also be responsible for keeping community areas clean and available, such as maintaining a community pool.

6. How does the house look in comparison to comps?

The seller agent will also tell you some things about the asking price. How do they compare to those of the surrounding houses and comps?

Although prices currently seem to be going nowhere but up, a lender will use an appraisal to justify the loan. That appraisal is largely based on what other houses in the area have sold for, commonly referred to as comps.

If the house is for sale for a lot more than neighboring ones, you will end up having to put down a bigger down payment. The mortgage lenders won’t loan you more money than the house is appraised for.

Sellers want to get as much money as possible. It is usually a common struggle between seller and real estate agent to find the right price. The right price means the seller isn’t leaving too much money on the table, still allowing the agent to attract potential buyers. Without potential buyers, you won’t get offers on the house. Getting offers is significantly harder if the house has been listed at too high a price. 

7. What are current market conditions like?

Going along the same line, you may want to ask the agent how long the house has been on the market. What are median home values in the same neighborhood?

Those questions will also help you better understand if the seller is potentially asking for too much money.

If it is a lot more expensive than the neighboring houses, it may either be warranted or not. It may be warranted if it has the square footage and upgrades that all the neighbors are jealous of. Even if that’s the case, you may still have issues selling in the future when you choose to move out of it. You may be the family that ends up spending months trying to get rid of a house that doesn’t match the neighborhood.

If it has been on the market for a long time, it could indicate that the price is too high. It could also mean there aren’t many people interested in its features.

Both of those cases aren’t great for you. The good thing about a home that may have been on the market longer is that the sellers may start considering lower offers. They realize they may not get what it is listed for. On the other hand, it could also indicate issues with the house.

8. What are the issues?

If there are issues and the seller previously received offers on it. Still, they never managed to close with the contingencies. You should worry. Start looking at whether it was warranted that the sale never went through.

Perhaps the house suffers from structural issues or other things that could have made previous buyers very reluctant. It could have caused a potential sale to fall through in the 11th hour. If you’re buying a home with such issues, make sure you are the right person to undertake such a project. You should know how to address them and have the necessary budget to deal with them.


The worst thing that could happen would be to buy a house, not knowing what you are getting yourself into. Perhaps you realize it has more issues than you are willing to start dealing with. At this point, you may end up in a place that you can never get rid of again. Even if someone is willing to take it off your hands eventually, you could end up losing money on the deal.

There are so many things to consider when buying. These are just some of the questions you should consider asking.

9. Is there lead paint?

We wanted to take a little bit of time to share information on things you should know about old homes. They often contain lead paint, which is extremely dangerous.

Old homes have a lot of charm you won’t find in a newer farmhouse or mansion. Old ones have many potential issues, and deteriorating lead paint can be a massive health issue.

It is a health issue when this type of paint stands on its last leg and things can be done to remedy it. To preserve the old home’s charm and make it a place to live in, it will need to be abated.

We wouldn’t be telling you this if it wasn’t possible to make the lead paint safe. You can investigate a couple of options to see which one is best suited for the situation.

Why do we care so much about informing you about the dangers of lead paint?

Isn’t lead paint a thing of the past that I don’t have to worry about?

We often find that users are surprised when they learn that lead paint isn’t to ignore. Especially not since it is present in many older homes. We often get asked why it was still an issue when this paint was banned more than 40 years ago.

The inclusion of this material has become less of an issue than in the past, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

There are still millions of homes that have this material in the walls. When it was originally installed, it didn’t pose any threats. With time it has come to. With time you won’t have that nice, durable surface that the addition of the heavy metal gives the paint. You will rather see paint starting to flake or otherwise deteriorate. It becomes an issue at that point.

It is especially an issue when non-adults are living in the house.

Yes, kids are a lot more at risk for lead exposure. They can develop severe side effects from exposure.

You’d research a bunch of other safety measures when it comes to your kids. There are just certain types of exposures that you don’t want your child to experience. Exposure to revealed lead paint is one of them. It is the same way you would ensure that your newborn is sleeping safely. You do not want exposure to lead, either.

Also an issue for adults

It is also an issue for adults, but it isn’t quite as severe as it is for kids. Look out for signs that your child has been exposed and is showing symptoms. You would be better off by getting their blood tested, where the exposure would reveal itself.

Some of the symptoms you should be aware of include vomiting, constipation, weight loss, and irritability.

You could argue that you have a healthy kid who gets irritated occasionally.

Kids’ longer-term effects include learning difficulties and developmental delay.

Lead exposure isn’t safe as such at any level. The bad thing is also that lead accumulates in the body over time. Even if you take steps to ensure that they aren’t being exposed to other sources, the existing damage is done.

The material is bad as it accumulates in the body over time. Sluggishness and fatigue are other symptoms to be looking out for. If you live in an old home, you may see paint that isn’t in the best condition anymore. Make sure you get it checked out.

When you buy an old home, you will want to make sure that you understand the situation before you buy. There are additional steps that will need to be taken to ensure the safety of everyone living there. That is assuming that lead is present.

You won’t have to do anything if the paint is still in good condition. That is becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by. If the paint deteriorates, the dust that stems from the paint won’t just go onto the floor and in the carpets. You and your children are at risk of ingesting it, why it becomes an issue.

So what is the situation that you need to prepare yourself for when buying one of these old homes?

For one, you need to do the testing. You will also have to prepare yourself for the possibility that you would have to address the situation in one way or another. The best option is to have the old paint abated. By doing so, you’re ensuring that it is no longer present in the various layers of the walls. You can also go ahead and get it encapsulated if you would rather do that.

The good news is that you can do the abatement job yourself if you are committed to the idea of saving money. You should also prepare yourself because there’s quite a bit of work involved.

Hopefully, this list of questions has helped prepare you better when you’re buying a house!


What questions should a first-time homebuyer ask?

The two most important questions for first-time buyers are “how much house can I afford? and “have I saved up enough for the down payment?”

What are the 3 most important things when buying a house?

The 3 most important things to look for when buying are your debt-to-income ratio, job security, and mortgage rates.

What should I look for when walking through a house?

Make sure to look for anything out of the ordinary. Signs of damage could be a big cause for concern, such as mold.

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