A house is probably the most expensive financial investment you will ever make in your lifetime. Of course, you will do your research to know the real estate market trends, the average property price in your chosen location, and the professionals you must contact for paperwork. While you can glean information from the internet and your broker, there are details that only the seller can provide. However, there are sellers who would provide only the basic information about his property and try to avoid consequential questions that might affect the potential sale. To know the right answers, you must ask the right questions. Here are important questions you should ask a seller before signing a contract.
Why are you selling?
Some reasons why people sell include buying a new home; job relocation; major lifestyle change due to marriage, the birth of a child, or death of a family member; and retirement. You have the right to know the reason especially if it is about a major house issue; however, if it is too personal, you may refrain from probing further into the real intention to avoid being intrusive.
How long has the house been on the market?
If the house has been on the market for more than six months, either it or its neighborhood has problems that turn off potential buyers. More so, if it is inappropriately priced, it won’t draw much attention. When a property becomes stale for staying on the market for a long time, the seller knows he needs a new strategy and must be open to negotiation.
How old is the house?
The age of the house can reveal its condition. Since renovation never happens every year, assess if it is necessary by inspecting the state of the roof, the flooring, and other important parts of the house. If the entire house needs repair and you still plan to buy it, you must be ready to spend a big amount.
Have you had any problems with the house?
The seller must disclose past and existing problems of the house. Whether repair or renovation, he needs to inform you as it might affect upkeep cost. Also, it would be helpful to know how previous problems were fixed. Knowing these details will spare you from inconvenience, headaches, and unexpected expenses in the future. If there are current problems, ask point-blank who – you or the seller – will shoulder the expense.
How are the neighbors and the neighborhood?
This is an important question to ask as your would-be neighborhood and neighbors can affect your lifestyle and well-being. No matter how ideal the house is, if you reside next to noisy, anti-social, and nosy people, you may have trouble enjoying your hot cup of coffee in the morning or spending quality time with your family. More than asking, you can visit the area at different times to get a first-hand impression of the neighborhood. You can even visit the local police department to know its crime statistics.
It is practical to know the accessibility of your location and if there are community events you can take part in, restaurants or cafés you can visit, and nearby schools and supermarkets for convenience. Also, take note of the local amenities and whether or not they can improve your quality of life.
What do you love most about the home?
This question will elicit a straight-from-the-heart answer. It might cause the seller to stop to think about his answer, but it will encourage him to talk about the benefits of living in his house. You might learn why he bought the house and how it helped him grow as a person. He might even tell you his favorite hangouts in the neighborhood and the neighbors you can establish relationships with.
There are – obviously – plenty of questions you should ask before you buy a home. Nevertheless, asking these questions will save you a lot of time and energy, and help you determine the best house among your options.