What are Questions to Ask a Realtor When Buying A House?
When buying a house, we’re often in awe of the high ceilings, the updated kitchen, updated floors, the backsplash. We visualize the family and friends gathering in the living room or out the backyard. But you know that what you see is not always what you get. So knowing the right questions to ask your realtor before you buy a house can help put you in a position to make an informed decision that could wind up saving you not only heartache, but time and money.
With that said, here are questions to ask your realtor when buying a house:
1. Why is the owner selling?
The realtor may not have to answer to this question, but you may be able to get them to hint at the circumstances. Are the sellers moving out of state, can they not afford the mortgage, or are their neighbors unbearable? It is best to try to feel out a situation and figure out what is motivating these sellers to vacate. Find out if they are motivated sellers who need to sell quickly, as you can take advantage of this price-wise.
2. Are there any foreclosures for sale in the area?
Sellers and their agents aren’t going to like this question, but it’s still worth asking. After all, you can use this for leverage. A foreclosed home in the area generally affects the houses around it because their property values take a hit. That fact introduces the opportunity for price competition that may allow you to offer up less of your own money.
3. What is the neighborhood like?
While you’ll want to be sure to visit your prospective neighborhood on varying days and times (Tuesday morning is going to be a totally different vibe from Saturday night), it’s always a good idea to ask the realtor for their opinion on the neighborhood. If they specialize in the area, they will know a few things that won’t be obvious to an outsider. The realtor will be able to tell you if the neighborhood is family-friendly, or if more shops and restaurants have been coming to the area, or if new housing developments are possibly on the horizon.
4.What’s wrong with the house?
While it’s always a good idea to get an inspection, it is also a good idea to get as much firsthand knowledge about the house you’re interested in as much as you can. Ask if there are any water damage, does the roof leak, the gutters shot? No one wants to end up with a lemon so you should be as well-informed as possible so that you’re not wasting their time or yours.
5. Is there anything you would want to know about the house if you were buying this house?
Photo: Man Repeller
No one wants to be the new homeowner who finds out something that’s a huge negative after they’ve already bought the house. So find out if there are high-rises going up that will soon block skyline views, is there a nearby dumpsite opening up nearby, or was the home a former crime scene, is the home haunted? Sometimes there are things that have happened in homes that new families come to habitat uninformed, but would have probably loved to know what happened there formerly. If you’re curious about the home you’re looking at, try reaching out to a neighbor or checking in with a local shop owner to see what advice they can offer up. And do this before you buy a home.
6. How long has the property been on the market?
The length of time a property has been on the market has a huge and direct impact on a seller’s motivation to sell. For example, an owner whose property has been listed for six months (and seen by every agent in town) is more than likely going to be more motivated to sell over someone with a listing that’s only been up a week. If you find out up front how old the listing is, you just might wind up saving yourself thousands of dollars in the process because you can offer less.
7. Exactly what is included in the sale?
Is the chandelier in the dining area staying? Are those great shelves in the garage going to be there when you move in? Never assume a fixture (not even cabinet knobs) will automatically come with a home. Ask the realtor exactly what items will be included in the purchase of the home, and have those items outlined in the final contract. Doing this will put everyone on the same page and should be confirmed before closing the final deal.
8. Has property repeatedly changed owners?
Is there a new owner every 3 or 4 years? If so, ask why if a home has a high turnover. It begs the question “what did those previous home owners know that I don’t?” Is there a noisy neighborhood bar nearby, does a train run through your back yard, or are the school ratings less than desirable? Again, when making such a large purchase it’s imperative to get as much info as you can in order to get the best home for your buck.
9. Have any major works been completed on the home and can you look at the planning and building consents?
You’ll definitely want to ask to see any applicable permits, building consents, or warranties for adjustments made to the home, if available. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have this awesome home with great income property potential, only to later find out that not only will you not be making extra money, but you have to pay to dismantle work that wasn’t even your fault to begin with.
10. Is the house the seller’s prime residence or an investment property?
Figuring out if the property is a seller’s prime residence or an income property can tell you a number of things about a home, so it’s definitely worth asking. For example, if the property was used primarily for rentals, the home may possibly have suffered a bit more wear and tear and some remodeling and upkeep may have been neglected due to long-term occupancies.