Interested in new construction? We did some research to find out what essential questions you should ask at an open house or home showing.

1. How much do property taxes cost per year? This will affect the monthly cost of the home,

and you’ll need to have an idea of the tax burden before you commit to home ownership. Remember that taxes are often higher in urban areas than in suburban.

2. Are there any homeowner’s or maintenance dues/fees? While this may be disclosed up front, always ask. Even if you don’t see a neighborhood sign.

3. How much do utilities cost per month in the summer? Winter? The agent will give you a ballpark figure, but, again, these numbers will increase monthly cost of ownership. As a companion question, you may want to ask if the utilities are gas or electric.

4. What is the square footage? Builders should provide a figure for square footage, and that number is confirmed in the appraisal papers at the closing.

5. How long has the builder been building homes in your area? An established builder will have many older properties in the area for you to either view, drive by, or even tour (if for sale), giving you some idea of the craftsmanship involved. A newer builder won’t have that cache, but may offer more modern amenities, designs and floor plans.

6. How long has the builder been in the business of building homes? Experience always counts!

7. What training, credentials, and formal education does the builder maintain? Builders who have extensive or high-quality training and licensure, along with a commitment to continuing education, generally communicate responsibility and care with the properties they build. They are invested in their trade.

8. Can they provide testimonials from recent homebuyers? Testimonials are a great way to find out what a company’s strengths are.

9. Ask for a complete list of all subcontractors working on their homes. If you live and work locally, this list will give you an idea of the kind of business the builders operate and the quality of the workmanship that goes into each home.

10. Ask what type of warranties (structural, maintenance, etc.) the builder offers. This can be a lifesaver for those first one or two years in case something goes wrong.

As always, verify whatever information you gather. A real estate agent can help you gather any necessary paperwork, and a good builder will provide you with documentation when needed.