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The process of buying a home is one of the most stressful shared experiences that a family can undergo; it’s even harder when you’re on your own or doing most of the work for your family. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that you forget little things when you’re looking for a home. That’s why we’ve gathered the most crucial questions to ensure you get all the information you need from the owner of the house you’re viewing.

How long have you lived in the home?

This is an important question for a few reasons. Although some resist asking personal questions about the owner’s experience, a person’s perception of their own home is often the most accurate you can get. If they moved quickly, showing little attachment to the home, you can infer that they had an unpleasant experience or that there were extenuating factors in the surrounding area that might merit investigation.

This is also a good question to clarify possible problems with the house and work their consequences into your mental plan. If they explain that they moved after a few years because the surrounding area is prone to floods, make sure you add flood prevention and insurance into your budget.

Has water damage ever happened?

In real estate sales managed by a broker or a licensed agent, inspectors will usually check for water damage before the deal is signed. If you’re dealing with the homeowner directly, asking about water damage is a very important step in ensuring you’re making a good investment.

That’s both because water damage is one of the costliest problems a home can suffer and because molds that develop from sustained indoor humidity can be dangerous to human life. Even leaky valves behind kitchen appliances can cause serious damage resulting in costly labor.

How long has the home been up for sale?

This is another question that sneakily clarifies information you’ll want to know without overtly interrogating the seller. A home that looks perfect but that’s been on the market for a suspiciously long period of time can have deeper issues that don’t become immediately apparent on a day’s viewing; dangerous neighborhoods or frequent poor weather are just a few common causes.

The questions you could ask someone selling their home are numerous and many-faceted, but these are some of the best for identifying the truth about a prospective property. Keep them in mind and you’ll make an investment that pays off for years to come.