Buying a home will most likely be the biggest financial decision of your life. It is important that when you begin this journey you are prepared. There will be more to think about than the types of flooring or the number of bedrooms in a house. No question is silly when there is a huge price tag on what you may be about to purchase.
I have compiled some important questions that should always be asked. If your real estate agent doesn’t have the answer, they should definitely do the research and find out what you need to know.
Why is the owner selling the home?
It never hurts to ask this question just in case the answer is one that may effect your decision on the purchase.
When was the home built?
This is a question that often gets forgotten in the conversation. The typical answer is usually in a specific decade. Try to get the exact year and don’t settle for an answer like the 70s or 80s.
How long has the owner lived in the home?
If the owners have only been in the home for a short period of time it is important to find out why they are moving so soon. Is the location inconvenient or the neighbours noisy? It sure doesn’t hurt to ask.
What is this home worth in today’s market?
A real estate agent will be able to inform you of what homes nearby have recently sold for. There should be comparables in the neighbourhood that they can provide you.
Is the homeowner willing to be flexible on the selling price?
It is a good idea to find this out if you are considering purchasing the home. Some sellers are insulted by lower offers and you may not get a second chance if you go in too low.
How long has the home been on the market?
If a home has been listed for several months and is not sold, you will want to ask your agent why it may not have sold sooner. There are several reasons that a home may not sell quickly and an experienced agent can discuss specifics with you.
Have there been any offers on the home?
In a busy real estate market it is important to understand that your offer may not be the first or only offer on a home. Ask your agent to educate you on the possible outcomes of placing an offer on a home and what you can expect in the process. It will also be helpful to discuss bidding wars and how you would manage that situation.
Is there anything wrong with the house?
On your tour of the home have a keen eye. Does the exterior of the home look in good shape? Are the windows energy efficient? What condition is the roof in? These are just some areas you should be sure to check. However, even if you believe you have inspected everything, it is always a good idea just to ask if the seller is aware of any past or present problems with the home.
Has there been a recent home inspection?
Many home sellers choose to have an inspection done on their home prior to listing it. The seller can decide to make repairs if necessary, or lower the price if more major work needs to be done. Providing a pre-inspection to possible buyers, assures them that no major problems were found.
What are the taxes for the home?
Ask to see the tax documents for the previous year.
Has any major work been done to the home?
It is important to know the renovation history of the home. You can also ask to review building permits or permissions that were granted for the work. You should also get the names of contractors and companies that have done work on the home. Knowing this will make things much easier if there are any problems in the future.
Can I view utility bills as well as warranties or documentation on mechanical systems?
Reviewing monthly bills, warranties and any documentation related to the home will help you make a more informed decision.
Has there been any flooding or water issues in the home?
On your visit to the home you can look for signs of water damage. You should also note any dampness or musty smell. Even if you don’t see obvious signs, it is still in your best interest to ask the question.
What is included with the purchase of the home?
Make sure you have in writing what is and isn’t included in the home purchase. If the appliances are included make sure to inspect them and ask for warranties.
What can you tell me about the neighbours and neighbourhood?
Neighbours can make-or-break your home life experience so be sure to look around at the homes surrounding the property. Are they well-kept? Did the current homeowners have any concerns with the neighbourhood?
It’s important to remember that as a home buyer you must ask questions. Keep this list handy and be sure to discuss all of these points with your real estate agent. Best wishes with your home buying!
Contributed By: Deb Rhodes, Sales Representative – Royal LePage Peifer Realty