Dont forget to ask...

When you're ready to begin searching for a new home, it's easy to get swept up by the excitement and that's perfectly normal. You might also find yourself feeling a lot of pressure and being overwhelmed by Calgary's current fast-paced sellers' market.  The combination of a low inventory and pressure to act quickly could leave you walking away from a property tour without all the necessary information you need to make the right decision. 

It's always best to be prepared with a list of questions you can ask your agent. Your agent won't know every answer all the time, but it is their job to assist you in getting them.  Here are a few of the best hard-hitting, not-so-exciting,  questions to help jump-start your brainstorming.

Are There Any Structural Issues with the Home?
Being caught unaware of structural issues years from now is every homeowner's nightmare. Ask this question when you view the home; the listing agent should be able to provide a seller's disclosure if there are any known structural issues. 
Has the Seller Made Any DIY Renovations?
DIY renovations made by the previous owners may be perfectly fine but they can also cause problems down the line.  For example, work that was completed without the proper permits could also become a big headache when you want to sell in the future. Don't hesitate to ask about permits and get copies for your files if you buy the home.  You should always schedule a home inspection with a qualified and reputable inspector who can help answer your questions.

What (If Any) Updates Have Been Made in the Home Since the Seller Purchased It, and When Were They Made? 
Major updates, such as ones to the electrical, roof, or siding, will give you a good idea of what will need your attention in the coming years.  A home inspection should also assist with this question, and inspectors can even estimate how long some features have left before they need to be fixed or replaced.  It's always better to plan and budget for things rather than be taken off guard!

Is there an HOA, and What Are the Fees? 
An HOA, or homeowner's association, will be legally tied to your home forever so it is important to understand the fees, regulations, and rules that apply to anyone who lives under the neighborhood umbrella. If the home has an HOA, get more information and do your research to make sure your lifestyle and goals for your property align with the HOA.

On average, what is the Seller Spending on Utility Bills? 
If you care about energy efficiency, you'll want to make sure you ask this question. Learn what sort of energy the home uses and what the estimated cost of the utilities is. It will help bring the budget for your new home into focus. Sellers may not always be open to sharing this type of information but you can always ask, right?

How Old is the HVAC System? 
Updating a new system can be costly, but old systems could cost you a fortune in utilities and repairs. Ask specifically about the HVAC system, as this will affect your overall comfort year-round. You can also check items like the water heater, AC unit, and plumbing fixtures.

Be Prepared When Buying a Home 
Buying a home is an exciting, thrilling time in your life. But you don't want to take off the rose-coloured glasses years from now, only to wish you had slowed down to learn more about your home. 

These questions should help as a great jumping-off point, but take some time and ask yourself what things are crucial to you living a happy life in a new home. Discuss your list with your real estate agent so you can be on the same page and have an open, direct conversation about your needs.

By advocating for yourself and asking these essential questions, you're on your way to a more enjoyable, stress-free home-buying journey.