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20 questions to ask when buying a house

Last updated on January 11, 2024

Viewing a property is not just about falling in love at first sight. It is the time to find out if it really meets the needs of the buyer and if it is in good condition. Do not hesitate to ask many questions to the person responsible for the sale, whether it is a real estate broker or the owner, to make an informed decision.

Here are the 20 most important questions to ask during a house tour.


There are many elements to take note of when considering purchasing a property. Some of them may already be in the listing, but other critical information about the property might not be as easily accessible. This is why it is important to request the declaration of the seller before going on site for a visit. This way, the potential buyer will have a list of things to look out for and of questions to ask. Whether during a first telephone conversation or during the viewing of the property, it is important to gather information and get answers in order to carry out the transaction with full knowledge of the facts.

The building

1. In what year was it built?

2. When was the current roof installed?

  • Is it under warranty? If so, until when?
  • Is the warranty transferrable to the new owners?
  • What type of material is it made of? (Asphalt shingles, sheet metal, elastomeric membrane)
  • Has the roof leaked recently?
  • Are the gutters in good condition?

3. When were the windows put in?

  • Are they under warranty? If so, until when?
  • Is the warranty transferrable to the new owners?
  • What material are they made of? (PVC, wood, aluminum)
  • Do any of the windows have problems, like condensation or mold?

4. Is there any work that needs to be done for known problems?

  • Do these problems affect the structural integrity of the building?

5. Do you still have the invoices for any work that was done?

  • Was the work done by professionals? 

6. Which type of heating system is installed and which type of energy does it use?

  • Electric baseboard heaters, wall-mounted heat pump, convection heater, forced air furnace, hot water boiler, etc.
  • Electricity, dual energy, fuel oil, natural gas, wood, pellets, etc.
Looking glass focusing on a house

The installations

7. Has any damage whatsoever occurred in the last few years?

  • Was it water damage, fire or fuel spill?

8. In what year was the water heater installed?

  • What is its size in gallons?

9. Does the electrical panel meet the safety standards of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec?

  • What year was it installed?
  • What is its voltage?

10. Does the woodstove meet insurance company standards?

  • Does the chimney have a liner?
  • If so, what year was it installed?
  • When was it last swept?

11. When was the septic tank changed, inspected and cleaned?

  • Is the municipality in charge of emptying it? If so, how frequently?
  • What is its capacity? (Usually calculated in number of bedrooms)

The surroundings

12. What is the neighbourhood like (e.g. young families, young retirees, etc.)?

  • What are the particularities and features of the neighborhood?
  • Is there a park, a daycare or a school in the vicinity?
  • Are there rental properties or only single-family homes?

13. Is there a source of noise nearby?

  • A railway line, a busy road, an air corridor, etc.
  • A factory, a hospital, a big-box store, etc.

14. Who owns the fences, the cedar hedges and the trees around the property?

White house in the snow

The expenses

15. What are the monthly and yearly expenses?

  • Municipal taxes and school taxes
  • Energy*
  • Insurance
  • Landscaping maintenance and snow removal (if applicable)
*This information can be checked on the Hydro-Québec website, using the address of the property.

16. Is any equipment rented (e.g. water heater)?

  • What is the cost and the lenght of the contract?
  • Which entreprise is the contract with?

The selling process

17. Is there an ongoing offer to purchase?

18. What goods are included and excluded from the selling price?

  • Is it possible to add appliances and furniture?

19. What justifies the asking price?

20. What would be the ideal possession date?

  • Is the date negociable?
  • Is it possible to store boxes or furniture in the property before the possession date?
Couple smiling while signing papers

The specifics of co-ownership

For a co-owned building, ask to see the Declaration of Co-ownership, financial statements, meeting minutes and contingency fund statement. While waiting to review the documents, you can ask the following questions:

1. How much are the condo fees per month?

2. What’s included in the condo fees?

3. What amount is in the condo corporation’s reserve fund?

4. What are the main regulations in the Declaration of co-ownership?

5. How good is the soundproofing?

Don’t be embarrassed to ask these questions, and any other questions that come to mind, during the property viewing and afterward. They will help you make your decision, but also to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Did you know? On the DuProprio website, you can search for properties to buy! If you need to sell before buying, our professional team can give you the visibility and support you need for a successful real estate transaction. To discover all of our services, watch our webinar or schedule a call with one of our advisors.

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