If you ever wanted to be a detective, new home searching is the time!

When you are buying a home, you want to know what you are getting yourself into. As we talked about last month, an inspection is a very important part of that process. It is also a good idea to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau or Nancy Drew to do some sleuthing! 

We have put together a list of questions for your interrogation. Haha! We don’t want you to go all Columbo on the seller’s realtor. But, we do want you to uncover any mysteries associated with your future dream house, so you can go into your purchase with your eyes wide open. 

A Rural Property

  • What are the boundary lines?
  • Are there any deed restrictions or ordinances? If you want to be able to hunt, etc… find out what is allowed. If you are next to a forest, find out if there are any restrictions or issues. 
  • How is water accessed? Are there rights? A personal well? Are there any foreseeable issues with obtaining water?
  • How deep is the well? What is it cased-in? The deeper the well the more expensive it is to replace the pump.
  • How old is the pump? Find out if it is in good working order and whether they have had any problems. 
  • How old is the septic system? Is it adequate? A leach field is where the sewage and water waste goes, and it needs to be able to service the number of people that will be living in the home. Find out what kind of leach field it is. Also, ask when the last time it was pumped.
  • Is the water safe? Private wells can be contaminated with minerals, radon, pesticides, and chemicals. Insist on a water test. 
  • Is the road a private one? Plowing and maintenance of a private road can cost thousands of dollars a year. 
  • How’s the power situation? A backup generator will be a must in rural areas, but you also want to know how reliable your electrical service is, and ask how often it goes out.
  • How is the winter access? If you are in Michigan, you can count on heavy snow most years. Find out if you can get plowing service or if you have to buy a tractor!
  • Is there trash service? How is trash taken care of?

An Urban Property

  • What are the neighbors like? (Any dogs barking incessantly? Domestic issues? Violations?) You want to have a clear picture of what you are moving into.
  • What is the neighborhood like? Find out if the area has the kinds of schools and atmosphere you want. Go for a walk in the neighborhood, and see what happens. 
  • What are the noise ordinances in the city? Some streets are super quiet, some are super noisy. Ask and then find out for yourself by taking a walk in the neighborhood at different times of the day.
  • What is the water quality? Water quality can vary from home to home depending on your pipes, etc… get a test done to make sure it is safe.
  • Has a lead test been done? Make sure you see the results for lead testing in the home. 
  • What are the costs of utilities? Find out how much your electric, water, trash, and gas bills will come out to each month. 


“It is typical for a buyer to pay for the general inspection that is done in the first 10-days after an accepted offer. Inspection costs can be between $350-500. This is not a pass fail inspection, it is an inspection to let you know what you are purchasing. If an unexpected issue comes we are able to negotiate a repair, credit or terminate the purchase.   

Well and septic inspections are typically paid for by the seller. You will want to confirm that the septic tank has been pumped. The inspection report will have a layout out of were the well, septic tank and drain field are located.  

It is important to make sure there is an agreement on a private road by all neighbors that use it.   Additionally some dues should be collected annually to keep up with road maintenance and replacement.

If you are living in a populated area it is imperative that you walk the neighborhood and talk with neighbors. You can get a wonderful sense of community by doing this.”

All Properties

  • Are there any issues getting this property insured? (Potential flood zone, fire zone, bad roof, etc…)
  • How’s the water pressure? Is the electrical updated?
  • Are there any problems with the foundation? What’s it made of?
  • Is there any flooding that has occurred?
  • How old is the roof?
  • How old is the furnace?
  • How old is the water heater?
  • Does it have a sprinkler system?
  • How much are utilities? 
  • What is the insulation made of? How well is the attic insulated? Are the walls insulated? 
  • How old are the appliances? Do they all work?
  • Are there any infestations? Animals and insects!
  • Are there any plumbing problems? If there are trees around, it is a very important question to ask! 
  • Are the doors and windows secure and working? Also, find out what their heating and cooling rankings are. 
  • Are the gutters in good working condition? If they aren’t, then flooding may have occurred so look for signs of mold and damage.
  • How much are the taxes?
  • How old is the A/C?

Buying a home is a big deal. A home will likely never be perfect, but it is good to know the issues before you commit. Being a super sleuth for you and your family will help. Fortunately, with 616 Realty, you don’t have to do all the sleuthing! Our agents will do it for you and help you get the answers you need to feel comfortable about your purchase. Contact us today, and let us help you uncover the perfect home for you!