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Homeowner's questions...what else should I ask?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007: Homeowner's questions...what else should I ask?
By Mrsheidi on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 09:16 pm:

We are closing on the house Oct 25th and I wanted to know some more information on the house's history, etc. It was built in 2000 and is in a small neighborhood (a circle within a circle and only one entry/exit.)

Here are the questions I have so I missing anything else?

Home/Neighborhood History Questions

1. When was the last time the driveway was sealed?
2. Who made/installed the deck and is it under warranty? If so, would you mind providing the company phone number?
3. What type of grass is in the lawn?
4. What type of fertilizer was used? Other types of lawn care used?
5. How do the water misters work? (In backyard)
6. Who made the house and what is still under warranty from the builder? Do you have the builder’s phone number?
7. Who installed your hardwood floors and are they under warranty as well? Phone number? What is the style/brand?
8. Any past problems with neighbors? Neighborhood kids? (Honestly) :)
9. Where is the bus stop?
10. What days are the trash pickups? Times?
11. Is there a recycling program?
12. Does your neighborhood do garage sales together or individually?
13. Does your neighborhood have a Halloween festival or any other holiday activities?
14. What annuals/perennials thrive in your soil?
15. Would you mind labeling the paint you have? (ie, writing down which room they match, etc.)

By Kateg on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 09:52 pm:

~ Roof? Make sure it is original? Has it been replaced?
~ Heating/Air system - who installed it? Phone numbers.
I'm just thinking of the things that we ran up against & things that I ask in my job.

By Kaye on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 10:36 pm:

The big one we ran up against. Is there a code to the security system?

By Tsa on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 11:14 pm:

This question always gives me the best information.
Anything else I should know? I always end with it and they always come up with some quirk I would have never thought to ask.
Good Luck and Congrats.

By Cocoabutter on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 07:11 am:

The last few questions may not be very relevant. Starting with #8, I prefer to make my own judgments about neighbors and people I meet. #9 Bus stop locations often vary each year based on the number of kids attending the school and where they live. Best thing to do is to find out from the school yourself. #10 In most cities, you are responsible for choosing your own trash removal company, and then you will find out when trash day is. #11 another question to ask a trash removal company, since most offer recycling service at an extra cost. #12 Call the local police department and ask for the head of the neighborhood watch on your block. If there isn't one, what better question to ask a new neighbor to get to know them? #13 another question to ask your new neighbors. #14 I wouldn't mind asking this question of the previous owner, but if there is any existing landscaping you could go by that as well. #15 Paint tends to fade with age, and you may decide that you want a whole new look in your home, to make it your own.

Good luck!

By Reds9298 on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 09:34 am:

From #8 on, sellers around here would laugh if you asked and say figure it out yourself. #14-#15, I personally would not answer as the seller. Just being honest. :)

The security code on the garage door is one question to ask, so you can change it and get in until then. That might have been what Kaye was referring to. Ditto on the heating/air info, so you know who to call if there's a problem.

I would want to know the name of the builder, but wouldn't need numbers. If you need something from them in the future, you can always look it up. #3-#4, also not a concern for me. Once I hire the grass people to come and start treating it, they can go from there, you know? I couldn't tell new owners to our house what kind of grass we have, but I can give them the name of our grass people and they can go from there.

#1,2,6,7 are the most critical for me in your list. Also, your realtor should follow up with you a few weeks to a month after you actually move in and make sure that everything in the house is a)working as it should be and b)that you don't have any other questions about general living in the house.


By Cat on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 09:50 am:

Is there an HOA or Covenant? You should know that already through your realtor, but it doesn't hurt to ask again. Have the people you're buying from been the only owners? If so they should know all the history of the house, but they still may not tell you some things. Living here in CO I'd ask about snow in the attic during the winter. With the winds we get in our area it's a real problem. Some of our neighbor's houses have had water running from their light fixtures because snow blows in the vents either on the roof or under the edge of the roof. We didn't have it that bad, but we did have some drywall damage. Another of our neighbor's had water damage in his basement because his builder didn't grade properly OR seal the house properly. The only builders I have knowledge of out here, either through owning or living next to (or friends) are Classic, Hallmark and Trailridge. I don't know anything about any of the others. Let me know if I can share anything about any of those three. Good luck with your closing!!! :)

By Mrsheidi on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 01:23 pm:

Thanks everyone! There is an HOA and a city pick up for trash. I've read the HOA stuff and it doesn't mention garage sales. Our last neighborhood frowned on individual yard sales. They are the original owners and seem pretty meticulous so they should have all that information.
Also, I'm asking neighbor questions because the winter time lends itself to having people not seen as often.
The paint question is pertinent as we might not want to have a hole where they had one and just need to touch up. The pain is beautiful and I noticed they saved all of it in their basement.
When we sold our house, I told the new owners everything and even typed it up for them, including perennials/annuals and paint labels. Sometimes certain soil lends itself better to certain plants and it could save me money. (I bought 2 bushes last year and they completely died in our clay-like soil in MD.) If it's going to save me time and money, why not ask?

By Mrsheidi on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 02:53 pm:

Also, trash day will be vital during the first week of unpacking! :)
Cat, I will definitely keep that in mind. I have to get back in the mindset of being in Colorado for sure! I had the attic looked at by the inspector and he said it's in perfect shape. After last winter, that's a relief!

By Reds9298 on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 03:50 pm:

Heidi, let me clarify that I definitely think the plant/soil answers would be *nice* to know, for sure. You were very nice to type up that info for the new owners of your old home. I guess I'm just not that nice, and that's going the extra mile for a new owner that I just wouldn't do. I'm a meanie. :) There are multiple city trash companies here, so really it's just about picking the cheapest one. I would never have a garage sale so that info doesn't interest me (just because I've always done something else with things I'm getting rid of). It's all about what's important to you when you move into a new home.

By Dawnk777 on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 03:54 pm:

I can't imagine having to hire a trash company! LOL! Here the city just does it! That's always been the way it is, here in WI, everywhere I've lived. I've always lived within city limits, though, so it is probably different out in the country. Also, recycling goes with garbage pickup, too. It's just covered under taxes.

By Cocoabutter on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 09:59 pm:

Here in Michigan we have several different trash companies, some are locally owned and operated, some nationwide, like Waste Management. In the big city of Grand Rapids, you buy city bags or if you have your own bags you buy trash tags. But I don't live in the big city, so I have to choose a trash company. Mine is Green Valley Waste. They now charge an extra fee per month for recycling, but I've been a customer since before they started charging that they offered it to me for free. It's sort of like shopping for phone or Internet service. It's a utility cost just like paying for city water or natural gas.

By Dawnk777 on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 12:45 am:

Yeah, we have Veolia here, that empties garbage for businesses. They have to contract for it, but city residents don't have to.

By Paulas on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 06:59 am:

Wow, we didn't get any of that information when we bought our last house. As a matter of fact, the owner manuals for the applicances that came with the house were not even left. The previous owners said that they would mail them but never did.

As far as plants go, I wouldn't have a clue. I planted a few things but if the tags blew off...I wouldn't know what they were.

You are much more organized than me, that's for sure.

By Dawnk777 on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 08:04 am:

The previous owners left owner's manuals behind, at our house. It was nice.

By Kaye on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 08:17 am:

Paula count me into the unorganized group!

Our previous owners from this house did leave most of the manuals. We actually got the builder book, complete with prices paid and pictures in progress. All in all pretty impressive since we are the 4th owners.

Also, do you need a key for mail? They only left one key for us, that was an issue, I think we ended up changing the locks.

They didn't leave us the security code to the house. So if it malfunctions we can't do anything. 2 months ago I literally cut the unit out of the wall, we had a bad storm and it went nuts, it is wired into the house and there is nothing you can do without the code. I can get a new code by hiring a security service and paying a monthly fee, but we have chosen not to do that at this time.

By Reds9298 on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 09:32 am:

They left us all the paint, tons of owners manuals and appliance receipts, the garage door code, the name of the trash company that they used, and a stair pull-down attice door to install ourselves. It was very nice. The paint was mostly neutral so we ended up throwing most of it away, but the front door paint is a deep maroon and it was nice to have it for touch-ups.

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