Although in some states, home purchasing percentages are going down, a significant number of people are still buying houses. For first-time home buyers, it’s a great idea to go in mentally prepared with questions when viewing a prospective place.

Avoid buyer’s remorse by asking at least the following things when considering any house on the market.

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1. Seller’s Buying Price: The housing market changes considerably over any span of time, which means it is beneficial to know if values have gone up or down since the original seller bought the home. If what you are being asked to pay now is considerably lower than the amount the seller paid, there is a good chance that houses in the area will continue to go up. This is particularly important if you are planning to sell the house in the next several years because the comparison serves as a good indication of what you can get for it in the future.

2. Short Sale: Generally, a potential home buyer knows whether the house they are looking at is available for short sale — that is, if the home is able to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage. Still, home buyers should do some further investigation so as not to miss out on this possibility. If, on the other hand, the seller has made it known that the house is being sold short sale, it becomes imperative that the buyer finds out if there has been communication with the lender for this to be the case. Find out what was the bank’s reason for granting the short sale and weigh whether that reason will significantly affect you and your family down the road.

3. Past Issues: Since seller disclosure forms do not always contain a record of past problems that have been corrected, be proactive in discovering if there were some aspects of the house that were fixed, as certain problems have a way of returning. Question whether any prior roofing, foundation, plumbing or electrical problems have occurred and whether or not a part of the house has been flooded or burned previously.

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4. Schools in the Area: Smart buyers with children will look into the schools in the area before seriously considering a home. If possible, ask both the realtor and the seller of the house how they found the neighborhood school district to be. In addition to providing a decent education to children, good schools contribute value to the housing market while a poor school district results in the opposite.

5. Physical Ground: One of the most responsible things a home buyer can do is to look into the circumstances of the land under and surrounding the house. It is still a common occurrence these days that houses are sold on what is considered sacred ground of Native Americans. Additionally, for the superstitious, it might be helpful to learn if a tragedy has taken place in the potential home as this may come as an unpleasant shock after purchase.

Armed with questions like these, and some wisdom and ethics, buying a first home should be a fun and exciting process.

Sakina Al-Amin writes regularly for an accumulating number of online publications, but has dreams of one day being a spokesperson. She resides in the metro Detroit area with her husband. Her work can be found at

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