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5 Things Everyone should Ask before Buying a Home

But most people don’t know to ask!

Buying a home is exciting. But at the same time, it is a large purchase that involves legal documents! Before you commit to a new home, there are many questions you should ask about the property. Doing so can help you avoid fraud and potential legal complications. It is also important to know as much as you can about your future home before making a major financial decision. If there is any doubt about the home or process, we recommend you contact an attorney.

Are you getting ready to buy a home? We can help! Our law firm has put together a list of five things every potential homebuyer should know but may not think to ask:

1. When was the house built, and when were any renovations done?

This is important to know for a few different reasons. Knowing when a house was built can help you determine what the original building materials were and if there are any known problems. For example, does the house use asbestos insulation in its pipes? Does the paint on the walls contain lead? Is there polybutylene pipe that could rupture and cause property damage?

Meanwhile, a property’s renovation history shows you how much of the original house remains. It’s possible that certain parts of the house haven’t changed at all, while others may be newer additions. This information can help you understand how much maintenance the house may need before buying a home. It might also tell you how much work you’ll need to put in if you move forward.

2. What is the building permit history on the property?

This is a critical question for all prospective homeowners to ask. Despite that, many buyers don’t always ask about building permit history, and that’s a mistake. A property’s permit history includes the following:

  • Any building permits pulled since the house was built.
  • The names of general contractors and/or subcontractors who pulled the permits.
  • Whether inspections of the property passed.
  • Whether the permits corresponded with the work done on the property.

These are important things to find out before buying a home. The permit history can also tell you if the seller cut corners. For instance, did they fail to get the proper permits during past renovations? If you notice clear additions or remodels on the property but don’t find any permits for them, that should be a red flag. Plus, the permit history can help you make sure the seller has been honest about any updates they made to the house. Finally, the permit history can help you avoid trouble when you make your own renovations.

Ask Questions before Buying!

3. Before Buying a home, find out … how many owners has the house had?

Knowing a house’s ownership history can clue you in on whether it has been flipped and, if so, how recently. When a house is “flipped,” someone buys it and then quickly resells it for a profit. Homebuyers, take note: Flippers often cut corners. They make the visible parts of the house look as appealing as possible for the least amount of money. Often, the materials used are not of the quality you would choose to live within your home. As a prospective buyer, you should make sure you’re not walking into a fraudulent situation. And, if a flipper renovated the house, you should find out whether the necessary permits were pulled to do so. You should also verify the reputations of the contractors who pulled them.

4. What is the reputation of the contractors who worked on the property?

As mentioned above, buyers should look into any contractors who have worked on the house. If you’re able to get the contractors’ names, investigating their reputations would be a wise move. Looking at online reviews is one way to do this. You can also ask other people in your community if they have worked with those contractors. You may even want to follow up with the contractors themselves about any major renovations. They can give you an idea of what their experience working with the previous owner was like. But be wary: If the house was recently flipped and the contractor has a relationship with the flipper, they may not be completely honest with you.

5. What is the house’s reputation in the neighborhood?

This might not seem like the most obvious question to ask, but it can yield some fruitful responses. Neighbors can provide a wealth of information about a house’s reputation in the area. For example, they can tell you whether a past owner rented out the property. They may even know if the tenants had any notable complaints about the house. You can also learn more about previous pet ownership on the property. We love our pets, but they can cause floor and wall damage that can be easily covered.

Additionally, you should ask about the reputation of other houses in the neighborhood. Are there any neighbors who blast loud music or take up many street parking spots? These questions may seem minor when buying a home. Still, the answers will significantly shape your experience once you move in.

Archangel Law Group wants to make sure you’re prepared before buying a Home.

Getting answers to all these questions will make you a much more informed homebuyer. But even if you ask every question you can think of, the previous owner may have still cut corners or taken risks. If you find yourself with questions and concerns when buying a home, seek out a lawyer who is licensed in your state. If you’re buying a home, reach out to Archangel Law Group today! We can help you avoid problems and costly issues.

Archangel Law Group

Archangel Law Group is here to help you out with problems you may encounter in the home buying process. If you have any more questions about the legal ramifications of home buying or discover problems after you bought a home, give us a call today! Call (757) 389-7383 We serve clients throughout the Hampton Roads cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News, and throughout Virginia.

Christian Blank, Archangel Law Group’s Partner, has extensive experience in construction disputes and property disputes.

If you find yourself needing an attorney, contact our firm. (757) 389-7383

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