Buying a home is a huge decision, both emotionally and financially. You want to be sure you feel comfortable committing to the property in question. Here are questions to ask your real estate agent before buying during the house-hunting process before deciding to go all-in on your future home.
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Would you buy the home?Would you buy the home?
Flip the script on your real estate agent and ask if they would buy the house. If they don’t come back with a resounding yes, it’s worth going a little deeper and figuring out the reasons they wouldn’t. Isn’t to say that a “no” means altogether canceling out the house, but if your realtor is worried about certain things, you’ll want to hear them out and listen to why they’re not immediately jumping on a purchase.
How long has the property been on the market?How long has the property been on the market?
Having a property that’s been on the market for an extended period could mean that there are some underlying issues with the house or that the seller has refused to negotiate on the asking price. Whatever the problem, ask your realtor why they think the house isn’t selling.
What is the real estate market like in the area?What is the real estate market like in the area?
Realtors see a lot of growth and decline in their job. Throughout the home buying process, your agent should be aware of the growth and decline trends in the area and be knowledgeable about the neighborhood you’re interested in. Ask your real estate agent about the community, especially if there’s any concern that the area may decrease in desirability.
For example, nobody wants to move into a neighborhood that’s dealing with a lot of foreclosures, especially if you’re planning on selling your home in the future. Consistent neighborhood improvement and small business activity can all point to a neighborhood’s potential growth. Your agent can give you advice on whether you’re making a substantial investment based on any local housing market trends and economic factors that affect home values.
Are there any nuisances I should be aware of?Are there any nuisances I should be aware of?
Even though your neighborhood may be quiet during the day, that might not always be the case in the evening. Traffic from nearby restaurants or stores could be an irritant, and adjacent road noise could be a constant cycle of noise. Even barking dogs next door can get on a person’s nerves. Be sure to ask your realtor and the seller about nuisances they’ve experienced or noticed.
Have there been any recent renovations to the house?Have there been any recent renovations to the house?
While renovations can make an old house or apartment look brand new, some renovations are done to cover up underlying problems. For example, a newly painted basement could mean that there’s mold or water damage. Ask about any upgrades and what the purpose behind the improvement was. Sometimes, investors or an investment firm will buy a property, flip it, and then relist the home for profit. If this is the case, do your research and ask your real estate agent if that particular investor has a good reputation and track record when it comes to flipping homes.
Are there any seller’s disclosures?Are there any seller’s disclosures?
While a home inspection will tell you what repairs are needed, your seller legally has to disclose any problems with the home. Ask the seller of the house for all of the paperwork on major systems and appliances in the home. If the home comes with a home warranty, proper paperwork on all of the mechanical systems and devices is critical. If you don’t have this paperwork and something breaks down, it’ll be challenging to determine if the systems are under warranty or what types of repairs and replacements are made.