You’ve been attending open-house tours and visiting homes with Bucks County realtors for what seems like a long time. Now you have finally narrowed down what you want and found what seems like the perfect home for you. Before you sign the dotted line and plop down your life’s savings, be thorough in your research, and ask questions about the house to avoid making a costly mistake. Here are five questions you should know the answers to before buying a home.

1. Why did the previous occupant leave or put the home up for sale?

By asking this question, you could unearth the hidden problems of the house, the environment or the neighborhood that you should definitely know before investing your savings into the home. On the positive side, finding some flaws that you can live with could give you some valuable bargaining power. This is also an opportunity to discover how motivated the seller is to close the deal, which could make them more likely to settle on a better price.

2. Are there any environmental issues that could endanger the house?

Do some research about the area to discover what types of hazards your home could potentially be damaged by. Find out if this home or other nearby buildings have been affected by floods, wildfires, severe weather and other natural disasters. Also, learn if there are nearby industrial facilities that have introduced hazardous chemicals into the air, soil or water that could pose a threat to your health or the health of your family.

3. How long has the owner been trying to sell the home?

This question is a good starting point when negotiating with the seller about the price. If the home hasn’t been for sale for more than a few days, the seller may not be willing to be flexible yet. After several months, you could be dealing with someone who is desperate to sell, and you could get a great deal on the home.

4. Ask specifics about the essential aspects of the home

Don’t be afraid to ask specifics about what kind of shape the home is in. Learn how old the appliances are and find out how long it has been since a new roof was installed. If it’s a relatively old home, find out if there has been any update in the plumbing and electrical systems. Learn how old the heating and air conditioning systems are.

5. What is the neighborhood like?

The neighborhood you live in is a big part of the living experience you will have at your new home. If you need a quiet neighborhood for your own peace of mind or a low-crime area to raise children, make sure to ask neighbors and other people in the area to describe what kind of neighborhood your home is in.

Buying a home is a huge investment, so it’s important to make sure you do your research and ask your realtor in Doylestown, PA the questions that are important to you before purchasing a home.