Pre-COVID, the average NYC condo sales price of $1.9 million made it one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. You can find a better deal in many places but skip the too good to be true deals because they typically have a huge problem that can’t be overcome without significant spending. Here are a few questions that will keep you from buying a dangerous house.

What security protocols do you use at home showings?

Make sure that your real estate office uses proper security protocols from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), such as knowing the business schedule of nearby businesses and verifying all appointments set with them. They should also provide a logbook that guests sign to check-in and to check out that also includes a photo ID check. The real estate agent should provide each visitor with a visitor’s name tag, which they must wear during the visit.

Do you allow me to bring a friend on the home tour?

Neither the real estate agent nor the home visitors should attend the home showing alone. Your real estate agent should always keep their phone with them and remain with the home visitors. Keeping an eye on things can be tough to do with open houses. Attend open houses hosted by a real estate agent and a second individual, such as another real estate agent.

You also need to ensure that the home’s structure remains sound. The safety of the surroundings matters, too, so ask the following questions when you look at a property. Start with the most obvious and work your way down to the items you might not have considered asking the real estate agent.

Does the home have any health or safety hazards?

Your real estate agent legally must reveal any problem with the home, including mold, lead paint, or radon. If these get discovered during the inspection, you could have your loan stymied. They must provide documentation of any event that happened in the past and how it was rectified. You will pay a lot if the home needs hazardous repairs.

What’s the history of the home’s past insurance claims?

Have the seller provide a copy of the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE), a report that details the prior seven years of homeowners insurance claims. Be careful with this report. It may not tell you what really happened in the home. Many times the homeowner will pay out of pocket for repairs, even if they use the best home insurance companies. You should also ask point-blank about these types of damage and ask for receipts for the work.

What is the roof’s age?

According to Roof Advisor, you should replace an asphalt shingle roof every 15 to 30 years. Check the roof against the age you’re told. If many shingles appear loose or missing, you either got lied to about the roof’s age or it just sustained damage that has yet to be repaired. That could become your cost.

What age are the appliances and major systems, including HVAC?

The typical furnace lasts between 15 and 20 years, and it can cost quite a bit to purchase. All of the major systems of a house fail eventually. You need to know the age and quality of the air conditioner, water heater, furnace, dryer, washer, and stove. This tells you if they will need replacing soon.

What problems exist with the house?

You need to obtain a home inspection before purchase, so you do not buy a lemon. The seller may not have honestly told you all of the issues. You can require repairs or seller-paid credits before you close on the house.

You need to know many things that you will not see when you look at a house. You can only find out these items by asking the seller directly or getting the CLUE report.