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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.

House decorated for Christmas in London, UKAlexey Fedorenko/Shutterstock

Are there any ghosts in the house?

It sounds like a silly question, 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, but a seller must declare that a home is haunted in the disclosure. Here are some signs your house is haunted, according to paranormal experts.

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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. Here’s how to find out if someone has died in your house.

how to keep snakes away, including this black and yellow one!Alexander Gold/Shutterstock

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. Find out some ways to keep snakes out of your home.

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Will the water heater explode and rocket through the roof?

Yes, your water heater can explode, and if it does, it could be catastrophic. If your pressure-relief valve is leaking, this could be an indicator there’s too much heat or pressure inside the tank. If you smell rotten eggs, that could indicate a gas leak inside. Popping noise could indicate sediment inside the tank, which could cause it to overheat. Essentially, if you see or hear anything unusual, don’t risk it: call a repair expert immediately. Find out the other things in your home that can explode.

Street of residential housesKonstantin L/Shutterstock

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 a great site with lots of free information 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 and AreaVibes provides a fairly comprehensive view of a community. Learn the biggest regrets first-time home buyers claim.

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Is there radon in the house?

What is radon and why is it dangerous? Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium. Radon present in nearly all soils, and very low levels of radon gas are found in the air we breathe every day. The problem occurs when radon gas enters your home and gets trapped. Long-term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. There are no federal or state laws that require radon testing to sell your home. However, there may be local ordinances that require radon testing before selling (usually in areas with known high radon concentrations). Check with local building authorities and your listing agent to determine if there are radon testing requirements before listing your home. Even if radon testing isn’t required to sell your home, most state and local regulations and ordinances require you to disclose the results of any previous radon tests to the buyer. In other words, you can’t hide radon test results from the buyer.

Rain water leaks on the ceiling causing damage, peeling paint and moldy.Waraphon.Siritakan/Shutterstock

When was the last time the house was 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 nip any potential issues in the bud by getting a mold inspection during the house inspection. The trouble with mold testing is that it won’t tell you if the mold is harmful or if there a harmful level of mold. Watch out for these signs your house could be hiding toxic mold.

Wooden home and money coins stack on wood scale. Property investment and house mortgage financial real estate conceptMonster Ztudio/Shutterstock

How much debt can I have before buying a house?

A potential home buyer might worry that they carry too much debt to be able to afford a home. So how much debt can someone have and still afford a home? Take a look at your debt-to-income ratio. According to NerdWallet, a good DTI ratio to get approved is around 36 percent. How is DTI calculated? DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debts by your pre-tax income. DTI helps determine how much you can borrow and a higher DTI can lower your chances at getting approved for a mortgage. In addition to DTI, find out some other real estate terms you should know before buying a home.

Left Facing Sold For Sale Real Estate Sign In Front of House.Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Who pays closing fees?

It’s a common question for those new to house hunting but the short answer is the seller is responsible for closing costs. But sometimes in a competitive market, buyers and sellers will split the costs or the buyer will pick up the costs to close the deal. Here are some more things you must do when moving into your new home.

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What is PMI?

For those who do not put a full 20 percent down on the purchase price of a house have to take out private mortgage insurance or PMI and pay it until they reach 20 percent toward the principal of the loan. When the balance drops to 78 percent of the original value of the home, the lender must drop PMI. PMI is protection for the mortgage lender against a borrower defaulting on the loan. It usually ranges between .5 and 1 percent of the mortgage annually and is typically built into the monthly mortgage payment. Now that you’ve got these common questions answered, find out some other questions you may not know you need to ask before buying a house.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman