Questions to Ask When Buying a House
September 5, 2019

When buying a home it is important to be ready to ask your realtor some questions when viewing a potential property. Asking these questions will give you a clear picture of what a home is worth, potential pitfalls, and more! You want to be sure that the home will be a good fit for you and your family before buying. Your realtor should be able to answer all these questions for you!

1. How much is this property worth?

This is a great starting question for your realtor. If the seller is asking well above its worth you likely know there might be some wiggle room in your offer. If the seller is asking significantly less then its worth you will want to investigate why the seller is selling for so low. Is there a problem hidden somewhere that the seller is trying to hide? Your realtor will also be able to tell you the high price and low price for similar properties, called comparables, which can help you make an educated offer.

2. How is the market in this neighborhood?

You want to know ahead of time about the market in the neighborhood market. Your realtor should know if a neighborhood is an up and coming neighborhood and is therefore a desirable place to live as your property is likely to increase in value. Conversely, your realtor should know if a neighborhood is in decline and therefore is likely to decrease in value. This knowledge will help you make an educated decision.

Discuss with your agent to see if the seller is willing to negotiate the asking price.

3. Is there any flexibility with the asking price?

You want to be able to make the best offer possible. Too low of an offer can be offensive to the seller but you also don’t want to lose money by making too high of an offer when the seller might have accepted less. Discuss with your agent to see if the seller is willing to negotiate the asking price.

4. Are there any disclosed problems?

There are several things that a seller has to legally disclose when selling a property. These disclosures include 

  • Lead paint 
  • Emotional defects ie murder, suicide, or violent crime. In California, death doesn’t have to be disclosed if occurred more than 3 years prior unless the buyer asks. 
  • Pests 
  • Drainage issues 
  • Neighborhood disputes and boundary issues

5. How long has the owner lived there? 

If the owner has lived there 10+ years there is unlikely to be any huge issues you would face when moving in. Likewise, if they have lived there for less than 5 years, then find out why. This is really helpful information to have when making an offer or deciding if the home is for you.

6. Why is the owner selling?

Find out why the owner needs to move quickly due to a job offer or something similar. If they have an urgency to move then you might be able to offer less than the asking price.

7. How often has the property sold?

If the property has been sold multiple times in the past 10 years this could mean there is a problem with the property or neighborhood. You will want to investigate why it has been sold so many times.

8. When do the sellers have to move out?

If the sellers need to move quickly then you have some negotiation leverage and they may be more likely to accept a low ball price. Or if they don’t have a pressing deadline then you will have plenty of time to do inspections and ensure that it is truly the home for you.

9. How much is the property tax?

When making an offer on a home you want to be sure that you can afford the mortgage PLUS property taxes. Knowing what you can offer will help you plan for extra costs beyond your mortgage. You can use this mortgage calculator to get a general idea of property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and monthly mortgage.

You can also check out my guide on the mortgage approval process.

Are you buying a house and looking for an agent to help answer your questions? Contact me and I can help you answer those questions!