real estate

7 questions to ask before buying a home

Are any foreclosures for sale in the area?
Are any foreclosures for sale in the area? | mpiotti/E+/Getty Images

Are any foreclosures for sale in the area?

It's the question sellers (and their agents) hate: Are foreclosed homes for sale nearby? Foreclosures usually cost less, and that has to figure into your buying decision.

"It always makes sense to ask if there are other houses for sale in the neighborhood," says William Poorvu, professor emeritus of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and co-author of "The Real Estate Game." "In today's world, you should also ask if any of these sales are as a result of foreclosures."

With foreclosures in the neighborhood, "you can assume there will be a lot of price competition, and you may offer less money," Poorvu says.

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