Whether you are a first time homebuyer or have a dozen properties under your belt, there are questions every buyer should ask before making an offer or buying a home. Very often when an agent asks a buyer what they would like to know about a property, they won’t have a single question. Buyers know they should ask something, but what?
There are three areas of interest, which homebuyers need to address:
- The offering price
- The home’s condition
- The home’s location
The good news is that much of this information can be found online however its accuracy may be another story. Therefore buyers should never take what is reported online as fact, so asking questions and getting information confirmed is necessary in order to make a fair and reasonable offer.
Questions On Offering Price:
When preparing to make an offer or buying a home, you need to know more about the asking price, so don’t hesitate to ask the seller’s agent. Here are some guidelines:
1. What did the seller pay for the home?
This will tell you if home values in the area have gone up or down from when the seller purchased the property.
2. What does the seller owe on the property?
If a seller is listing the home at a price for less than he owes, then it’s a short sale unless the seller brings the difference in cash at closing.
3. What are the neighborhood comps?
This will indicate the value of the home and is critical to determine if a home is priced accurately. Appraisers rely on comps (what a similar home SOLD for in your area) and will report the home’s value to your mortgage company.
4. Has the seller received any offers?
If a home has been sitting on the market for several months receiving few, if any offers, then you might be able to negotiate a better price.
If however, the seller is entertaining several offers, then you will need to make your first offer your very best offer.
Questions On Home’s Condition:
While a seller may not know everything that is wrong with the home, it is important to hire a professional inspector where you can ask the following questions:
1. Is the roof in good condition? What is the age of the roof?
2. What type of foundation?
3. Is the insulation properly installed?
4. What is the age of the appliances? Is the electrical and plumbing up to code?
Questions On Home’s Location:
You have heard the old saying when buying a home: “Location, location, location.” And this still holds true in the world of real estate. Nothing is more important than buying a home in a good area as it can hold its value and sell more quickly than homes in less desirable areas.
1. What are the schools like? Are they nearby? Is there transportation? Even if you don’t have children, you will want to sell your home one day and parents, aka sellers, will always seek out the best schools.
2. What are the amenities nearby? Here you will want to know about shopping, entertainment or other activities in the area. For some buyers, it’s necessary to be close to public transportation or walking trails. For others, easy access to freeways and work is mandatory.
3. What’s the neighborhood like? Take a walk and ask neighbors their thoughts on the area. Is it a family area or do people keep to themselves? Is crime a problem? Is traffic noisy? Visit the area at various times to get a better feel. What may look peaceful during the day could be a different story at night.
4. Any buildings or commercial properties being developed? If you notice an empty lot, or any construction activity, find out what the property is zoned for as it can directly affect your home’s value.
Again, buyers should never stop asking the seller or the seller’s agent questions until their concerns are adequately addressed. It’s always better to ask now than to be sorry later.
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