Home Purchase: Questions To Ask Sellers

Home buyers should definitely make it a priority to visit as many open houses as possible.  Open houses are great because you will be meeting the seller’s real estate listing agent and sometimes the sellers of the home is present as well.  Asking questions directly to the seller’s real estate agent is much better than asking it to your realtor who then in turn asks the seller’s agent.  Why not get your questions answered from the horse’s mouth.  Prior to going to the open house, make a list of questions that you have though about asking.  Unless you are familiar with the neighborhood, the subject property is new territory for you and your family and there should be many concerns and questions that you might have.  A home purchase is most likely your biggest investment and the chances are that you will be living there for many years to come.

Questions To Ask Sellers In An Open House

Some questions to ask sellers are how long has the house been on the market and are there any offers.  This year is a hot year for home buyers and I have seen many cases where my pre-approved mortgage loan borrowers cannot get a home for months due to multiple offers.  I have seen a case over this weekend where my pre-approved client has lost two homes she was interested in buying due to 4 or more offers.  Seller’s realtors will definitely tell you that they got multiple offers or an offer on the property because they would want you to submit your offer along with the offers they have.  Ask the seller’s agent on how many times they have changed the listing price if any and how long has the home been in the market.  A long listing and multiple price drops may signal that there are no offers on the property or never has been an offer on the property and may signal other red flags such as the price being over priced or competition where there are like and similar properties in the area that are better priced and/or in better condition.  It also may be an opportunity where the seller is aggressive in selling the subject property and is willing to drop the price further if you can give them a low ball offer.  Maybe the seller dropped the price recently because the seller is desperate in selling the home because they need to move in to another home and without selling this home, they cannot proceed in closing their new home.

Why Are Sellers Selling?

Another important question you should ask is the reason why the sellers are selling and planning on moving.  Is it a job transfer?  Is it due to moving to a larger home?  Is it due to downsizing since their children are grown up and they are empty nesters?  Is it due to high crime in the area?  Is it due to public schools that is ranked poorly?  Is it due to loud neighbors?  Is it due to a sexual predator that moved in next door?  The seller’s agent may not fully know the exact reason but most of them will volunteer the information why the seller is selling.  Others will not.  You just need to read between the lines and if the sellers are vague about it, you just need to do some detective work on your own.  You will most likely not want to move in a home where a murder just occured.

What Is Wrong With Home?

The sellers are required by law to disclose any defects that they know about when selling their home.  Ask the sellers whether there are any current code violations or if they ever had any code violations and if they did, what they were and what process they went to remedy them.  Does the home have a basement, whether it is finished or unfinished, and does the basement ever flood.  When was the house last updated?  How old are the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC Systems?  How old are the appliances?  How old is the roof and did the roof ever leak?  What are the utility bills in the summer and winter?

Ask Sellers About Neighbors

Another thing you should ask the sellers are about the neighbors.  Do they have kids?  Are they close to their neighbors?  What is the average age group of neighbors?  Are they mainly retirees or are they young folks?  Does the neighbors have annual block parties?  Although you as a homeowner will have privacy and do not have to get along with your neighbors, having friendly neighbors in your age group and if you have children, having neighbors with children where they go to the same school is a plus.  Even though you really like the house do not be too eager in presenting an offer and tell them how much you like the house because it can back fire in your negotiations in getting the best possible price for the home.          

The information contained on Gustan Cho Associates website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by The Gustan Cho Team @ Gustan Cho Associates or its affiliates. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and/or guest writers of Gustan Cho Associates Mortgage & Real Estate Information Resource Center website and do not reflect the policy of Gustan Cho Associates Lenders Network, its officers, subsidiaries, parent, or affiliates.

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