If you were going to put your life savings in the stock market, how much time would you spend researching the company you were planning to buy? You, or your financial advisor, would probably do hours or days of research before risking everything you had.
When you buy a new home, you’re investing even more than your life savings. You’re borrowing tens of thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the form of a mortgage you’ll be paying off for thirty years.
Yet most of American home buyers spend only minutes checking out a house before buying it. Approximately 62% of recent home buyers in the US spent less than an hour viewing a house before making the decision to purchase it; nearly a quarter of them just spent 30 minutes or less in the house before their home purchase.
Anyone who’s gone through the home buying process can understand those numbers. Touring dozens of homes, and facing all sorts of deadlines, often short-circuits the viewing process.
But whether you’re going to spend hours or minutes deciding whether a house is your dream home – and offering to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it – you owe it to yourself to make the most of that time.
How do you do that? By asking the right questions.
Here’s a guide on what to ask. It should be particularly useful for first-time homebuyers.