- Why is the house for sale?
One of the most important questions that a home buyer should ask is the seller’s reason for putting the home up for sale. While the seller might not want to go into the specifics behind the sale if the reasons are highly personal, they should still be able to provide a broader picture.
If the seller appears to be in a hurry to sell, a buyer could more than likely wrangle a much lower price. If there’s no rush, however, it’ll reduce their chances of negotiation.
Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to dig up the real reason behind a sale, such as having to put up with difficult or unpleasant neighbors.
- How long has the home been on the market?
Homes that have been on the market for longer may motivate the seller to cut a better deal. Oftentimes, homes can initially be priced too high – more than what others may think it’s worth – so it’ll help to revisit what other homes in the area are going for and use the information gathered to negotiate a better deal.
Additionally, if a house that hasn’t drummed up a lot of interest for a long time, it can signal that there may be some challenges with the home. Looking into the reasons why a home may have been on the market for so long can sometimes give buyers the leverage to negotiate for better terms or value.
- What terms are the sellers asking for?
What terms the sellers are asking for is likely to have a bearing on how flexible they’re likely to be on price. If the seller is selling as-is and only taking cash offers, for instance, they may be more amenable to selling it for less than they originally priced it for. Studying recent sales prices for similar homes in the same area can give buyers a better idea of the trends in the local market. This can help the buyer gauge how much to offer.
- What’s the neighborhood like?
The first three rules of real estate are “Location, Location, and Location.”
One should never discount the importance of checking out the neighbors and the neighborhood as a whole. Knowing how close to amenities the home is located is important. How close is it to your life, doctors, work, and/or school? Check on crime rate statistics, and things such as the frequency or scale of neighborhood disturbances. How much noise can reasonably be expected for cars, daily traffic, or even from barking dogs?
Even the best home can be ruined by problem neighbors and local crime. No one wants to move into their dream home only to find that there are things that can turn their experience into a nightmare!
- How old is the house?
Another factor worth investigating is the age of the house. This will indicate which parts of the structure are nearing the end of their lifespan. The roof, for example some kinds of roofs are only good for up to 20 years. If you’re buying a much older house, inquire if the HVAC, and electrical systems have been upgraded. If sellers disclose the information you seek even prior to a home inspection, you can gauge how much more you’ll have to set aside for repairs and upgrades on top of the house price. I always encourage buyers to get their own home inspection, no home is perfect even new homes that have never been lived in will have issues come up in the home inspection.
- Were renovations done?
All homebuyers should ask for the details of any major renovations or repairs that have been made. Shoddy repair jobs can be a costly nightmare to fix. The details of these repairs if available can help you make an informed decision.
Ideally, Homebuyers should make sure that someone that is fully licensed made these repairs. Additionally, homebuyers need to ensure that the requirements for any state permits were met: no one wants to be hit with a fine or penalty because the previous owner didn’t bother with the appropriate permit.
These are only a few of the things to look out for when buying a house. There’s no question that’s too unimportant to ask when contemplating something as major as buying a home. And it is the responsibility of the homebuyer to make sure that everything is in the best condition prior to signing on the dotted line.