Purchasing a home is scary. You do not get a “let’s return it for a refund” policy!
You also do not have 30 days to think about the property and see if it is the best fit for your family.
Before making that offer, you need to be sure that it is “the one.” However, the many options and lots of competition can make finding the perfect match hard.
Finding the right house requires research, so you need to ask the right questions. This way, you will get a competitive offer on a property you can afford and that meets your long-term goals.
Here are critical questions to ask a realtor when buying a house and weed out the duds from the diamonds.
What to Ask Realtor When Buying a House—5 Questions You Would Never Think to Ask
It is tempting for the first-time homebuyer to put the pedal to the metal and close the deal quickly after finding a house that has everything you dreamed of and more.
However, no home is perfect beneath the surface and the real estate agent knows that. So, now is the time to pepper the professional with questions about the house you want.
Questions regarding the full offer price, closing durations, and others are obvious. But there are questions you should ask to find out what the realtor thinks of the property.
The questions below will help you figure out whether the home is right for you and determine the next steps to take.
Would You Buy this Home?
The question is a litmus test of whether you should continue looking for a home. Any reservations your agent has about this question are a major red flag.
If the realtor is not enthusiastic about the property, find out why. There is a possibility the neighborhood, house, or seller could be a problem.
Are there Contingencies Worth Getting or Skipping?
Unfortunately, sellers and buyers can get cold feet about selling or purchasing a house, but they just cannot back out of the deal. When sellers accept the buyer’s offer, they get a binding and legal contract that requires them to complete the transaction.
Details on how binding the contract is can vary. You may get a contract with contingencies built-in to enable a seller or buyer to walk away without a penalty.
Buyers getting approval for a home inspection, mortgage, and appraisal have contingencies included in the contract. However, too many contingencies can turn off sellers, so ensure there is a balance by asking your realtor to help with negotiations.
Is There Anything Happening in the Neighborhood Likely to Affect Property Prices?
The best realtors know everything occurring in communities within their jurisdictions. Federal fair housing laws prohibit real estate agents from commenting on a neighborhood’s demographics.
However, the agent can offer advice on whether the investment is solid based on the local market trends and economic factors that may affect property value.
- Are home prices in the neighborhood rising or falling?
- What new amenities, such as shopping, parks, and public transportation, are coming up in the area?
- Why is the seller selling?
All these are critical things to consider while purchasing a home and your realtor can assist.
What is the Property’s Sales History, and How Does it Affect My Offer?
This is one of the most important questions to ask when buying a home.
More questions to ask are:
- Is the property an expired listing previously?
- Was the property under a lease?
- Did a bank own the home or was it under any distress?
These and more factors are indicators the property could be struggling, and you can snap up the offer at a low price.
Can You Recommend a Local Real Estate Attorney, Handyman, and Home Inspector?
Local expertise also matters with other professionals you will meet during negotiations. The expertise angle is a critical to-do item in your questions to ask a realtor when buying a house list.
So ask for recommendations of professionals on your home-buying journey. The recommendations and answers will boost the odds of smooth sailing through the process.
4 Questions to Ask When Touring a House
Make house tours more efficient and easier by preparing a list of questions. Details about each property will help you compare all the homes effectively.
Here are four more questions to ask real estate agents during a visit.
What Comes With the Property?
Fixtures such as built-in closets and faucets should be in a home. However, ask to be sure.
Some structures that a seller can remove include chandeliers, outdoor sheds, appliances, and play structures.
How Old is the Heating and Cooling System?
Replacing an ancient furnace is a significant expense. Even a newer heat pump or furnace might lack the energy efficiency of current models or are too loud.
Find out more about how the current owner heats and cools a home. Remember to ask about whether the system requires immediate replacement or repairs.
Are There Renovations or Additions?
Additions do not always reflect in a property’s official records, so you may get different square footage than is on paper. Additions are also likely to increase the price.
Ask about the contractor used to make the additions. If they are DIY projects, find out if the homeowner has the permits and is using the proper techniques.
Be cautious of any renovations or additions the homeowner does without a licensed contractor.
When Was the Roof Last Replaced?
Replacing the roof is one of the most expensive projects in homeownership. The typical cost is anywhere between $5,000 through $10,000.
However, the cost depends on the roof type, home size, and materials. Knowing when the roof was replaced last helps you determine when to budget for future repairs.
Purchasing a home is the biggest single investment you will make, and you will spend a lot of energy and time finding the perfect property. However, a little detective work and answers to some investigative questions will help.
Use this list of questions to ask a realtor when buying a house for additional peace of mind.