10 Home Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask But Were Too Afraid
Don't worry, you aren't the only homeowner with these questions.
Can a Snake Come Up Through the Toilet?
It seems like an urban legend that a snake can come up through a toilet, but there have been reported instances of it happening. So, yes, it is possible.
Will the Water Heater Explode?
Yes, your water heater can explode. And if it does, it could be catastrophic.
If your pressure-relief valve is leaking, this could indicate too much heat or pressure inside the tank. If you smell rotten eggs, that’s a possible gas leak. A popping noise could indicate sediment inside the tank, which could cause it to overheat. Essentially, if you see or hear anything unusual, call a repair expert immediately.
Is There Radon in the House?
What is radon and why is it dangerous? Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas produced by decaying uranium. Radon is present in nearly all soils, and low levels of radon gas are found in the air we breathe. The problem occurs when radon gas is trapped in your home.
Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. No federal or state laws require radon testing to sell your home, but there may be local ordinances that apply, usually in areas with known high radon concentrations. Check with local building authorities and your listing agent to determine what’s required before listing your home.
One other thing: Most state and local regulations and ordinances require you to disclose the results of any previous radon tests to the buyer.
Are There Any Ghosts in the House?
It sounds silly, but some people really believe in ghosts and will want to know if there are ghosts in a house before they buy it. Believe it or not, a seller must declare that a home is haunted in the disclosure.
Has Someone Died in the House?
It likely isn’t all that uncommon that someone has died in a house, but you might want to know if there is some infamy involved with the house before you purchase it. There are ways to find out, like Googling the address or checking local media web sites.
Are There Criminals Living in the Neighborhood?
Potential home buyers will want to know about the neighborhood, but they’ll certainly want to learn who lives there, too. You can certainly check the crime rate of a neighborhood. Family Watchdog is one site and Neighborhood Scout provides limited free information.
Ring, the video doorbell company, has created the Neighbors App, which provides real-time crime statistics and safety alerts. AreaVibes provides a detailed view of a community.
When Was Your House Inspected for Mold?
Information on a house that had mold should come up in the disclosure, but it’s important to note how long ago mold became an issue. You can always avoid any potential issues by getting a mold inspection during the home inspection.
How Much Debt Can I Have Before Buying a House?
A potential home buyer might worry they carry too much debt to afford a home. So how much debt can someone have and still afford a home?
Take a look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. According to NerdWallet, a potential homeowners’ DTI ratio should be around 36 percent or lower. DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debts by your pre-tax income. DTI helps determine how much you can borrow. A higher DTI can lower your chances at getting approved for a mortgage.
Who Pays Closing Fees?
Both parties are typically responsible for paying some closing costs. The amount owed respectively by the buyer and seller can be negotiated during the home buying process and written into the purchasing contract.
The closing costs owed will vary deal to deal depending on multiple factors, including the purchase price, loan type, types of inspections needed, etc.
What is PMI?
Those who do not put a full 20 percent down on the purchase price of a house have to take out private mortgage insurance (PMI) and pay it until they reach 20 percent toward the principal of the loan. PMI is protection for the mortgage lender against a borrower defaulting on the loan.