As a realtor, I often come across people who search day and night for a perfect house only to regret their decision few months after moving in. This typically happens because buyers sometimes become so impressed with the cosmetic makeover of a house that they forget to investigate the property properly.
By asking the seller or his realtor these few questions before signing on the dotted line; you can avoid regretting your decision in the future.
Reason for Selling
There is never a better first question to ask any seller then their reason for selling. As a buyer’s agent I have come across many answers to this question but rarely a truthful one. However, knowing the seller’s motive can give you an idea of their stance on negotiation and how much they would willingly budge.
Duration on the Market
The next question to go for is to ask the duration of time the property has been on the market. While there could be multiple reasons behind a house being on the market for too long, a stale listing ends up damaging its worth. A notion forms in the market that there is something wrong with the house. If you have found yourself such a property, there is a likely chance that you can get it at a good price.
Things Included in the Deal
As a general rule of thumb, fixtures like faucets, cabinets etc. are included with the purchase. But a buyer’s agent can often also get you installed water heater and HVAC systems in the deal. Nonetheless, asking the seller what is and is not included in the sale can save you from legal troubles and the embarrassment of miscommunication.
Inquire Regarding the Neighborhood
Before you move to a new home, you need to make sure if the surroundings are to your liking. This also includes the neighboring houses and its occupants. Do not hesitate to ask the seller if the neighbors are a bother or if there is always too much traffic on the streets or any other questions that you may have regarding the vicinity. After all, buying a house is a big decision and you do not want to be marred by an unbearable neighborhood throughout your foreseeable future.
Items that legally need to be included in the disclosure statement varies from state to state and, in some cases, even counties. Some of those items include natural hazards, pest problems, system or appliance defects, property disputes etc. And while you are entitled to a disclosure statement from the seller, asking about these things casually will help you make a better and informed decision.
Major Repairs History
This one is especially important if you have developed an interest in an old house. Do not feel awkward in asking the seller about any major repairs conducted on the property in the past five to ten years. If you do not feel comfortable asking about it directly, a buyer’s agent can do that for you. In any case, asking about these repairs is important as many as times major repairs cause a chain reaction of faults and problems coming to light, incurring more repair costs.
Roof of the House
Again, asking about the condition of the roof and its age is important if you are interested in an old property. Roofs generally have a lifespan of thirty years but it can be more if they are maintained well. You should know that it is also one of the most costly expenses to incur. A rough or damaged roof can give you a negotiating edge on the property if you are really hooked on it.
Insulation is known to cut down on energy bills. And having insulation already installed on a property you are interested in buying, can be an added advantage. So, do ask the seller if the house is insulated. If it isn’t and you are planning to have it insulated, as a realtor let me tell you that having insulation does not increase the market value of a property much. So, do not let the seller influence you much if his house has insulation.