Homeowners insurance blog

Out-of-the-Norm Questions to Ask When House Hunting

When you’re searching for the home of your dreams, there are plenty of questions you should ask.  Some common ones are ‘When’s the last time the roof was replaced?’ and ‘Are the plumbing and electrical systems up-to-date?’

Those are some great inquiries, but there are some wilder questions that you need to pose. Sellers are required to notify potential buyers about many factors related to a home. But real-estate agents in some states aren’t required to disclose some truly terrifying details about a house.

Here is some information an agent may not be required to tell you and how to get a conclusive history of the home you have your eye on.

Death

Whether a previous tenant died from natural causes or there was a murder or suicide on the premises, your real estate agent doesn’t have to be up front with that information.

Most people might not be comfortable living in a home that was the setting of a violent death. To find out whether anything to that effect happened onsite, ask “Did anyone die here?” By phrasing the question in this way, the agent either will be required by law to be honest or may tell you because he or she feels ethically obligated to do so. Be aware that not all states mandate that sellers tell you of a murder or suicide, even if you ask.

Do some research about your state – specifically, what real estate agents are required to tell you about a home and whether you must prod them with questions to get the answers you’re seeking. If you live in a state that doesn’t require your realtor to tell you about violent deaths at the home, take to the Internet. Google the address because if a murder or suicide occurred there, there likely will be news coverage.

Regardless of what you hear from the agent or find on the Internet, talk to the neighbors. They can provide insight on any events that may have occurred on the property and can give more details than other sources may be willing to provide.

Meth

Did you know that nearly half of all U.S. states don’t require real-estate agents to tell you if a property was previously used to manufacture methamphetamine? Also, most home inspectors do not test for meth contamination in homes or rentals. Pretty alarming, isn’t it?

The residue from crystal meth can accumulate in carpet, cabinets, walls, insulation, etc. Homeowners living in contaminated homes have experienced health issues such as dry mouth, headaches, loss of breath, sores, and nosebleeds as well as the deaths of family pets. What’s even more unfortunate? The cost to decontaminate your home can be high.

If you’re interested in a home, search the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Clandestine Laboratory Register to see whether it’s listed as a confirmed meth lab. It’s estimated that only 5 percent of meth labs have been discovered, though, so you can purchase a test kit for $25 to $50. Buying the home test kit can save you potential health issues and the ruin of many of your possessions.

Don’t let the house of your dreams turn into one of your nightmares! Do your research on the home you’re interested in and ask your real-estate agent, potential neighbors, and other members of the community about it in order to feel confident that you’re getting the full story.