There are many things that you need to keep in mind when buying a home, especially for the first time. It is so easy to immediately fall in love with a piece of property only because it looks dreamy and picture-perfect. But have you ever thought of the practical matters that could make or break your decision to make an offer? Have you done enough research to find out what to look for in a dream house?
Preparing a list of smart, important questions to ask your real estate agent allows you to focus on the pragmatic side of things. Even if you can’t talk with the seller directly, your agent can help you get the answers you need.
In this guide for first-time home buyers, we recommend asking these 5 essential questions.
Question 1: Why are the owners selling the house?
Sellers do not have to reveal precisely why they are leaving and selling the house, but it does not hurt to ask them. Based on a 2020 report by the National Association of Realtors, the three most common reasons cited by homeowners are:
- Desire to move closer to friends and family (16%),
- House was too small (13%), and
- Job relocation (11%).
Discovering the owner’s reason for moving out can influence your decision of whether you want to live there or not. Also, if the owner is in a rush to sell, it could provide you with a negotiating advantage.
Question 2: How many days has the property been on the market?
If the listing doesn’t provide the information, the number of days a property has been on the market is another good question to ask your Realtor. “In 2020, homes spent an average of just 25 days on the market before going under contract, down from 30 days in 2019,” according to this report. Therefore, if the property has been listed for more than a month, ask the agent why it hasn’t sold. Is the home overpriced, or are there problems that others know about? An extended period on the market could also mean that the owner is not open to a lower offer.
Question 3: Have the owners done any remodeling, renovation, or repair work?
As a possible new owner, you want to know about the history of the house. This includes any type of refurbishment, renovation, or repairs that the owners have carried out over the years. Although such improvements increase the home’s value, pay attention to what may seem to be band-aid solutions for recurring problems. For example, sellers sometimes repaint a room to hide fine cracks and signs of moisture.
Question 4: What’s the neighborhood like?
In real estate, location is everything. For homes, this means that your community and neighborhood can significantly affect how you live in your future home. Ask your real estate agent for information about the following:
- Crime statistics
- Public transportation
- School districts
- Shopping and dining amenities
- Parks and recreational facilities
- Entertainment and leisure activities
- Local nuisances, such as heavy road traffic
- Risk of natural disasters
- Homeowners association rules
Speak with the neighbors. Are they warm, reserved, or hesitant to talk? Drive around town. Visit the property at different times of the day. Finding the answers to these follow-up questions will help you decide if the neighborhood is right for you and your family.
Question 5: What do the owners love most about living there?
End the conversation with your real estate agent and the seller on a positive note. Rather than looking for problems with the house, why not ask the owners what they liked most about living in the home and the neighborhood? Maybe you will learn something about the property that you hadn’t noticed before.
Pro Tip: No question is too trivial
Once you’ve secured an appointment for a private house showing, or when you meet with your Realtor for the first time, list these five key questions and any additional queries you might have. Make sure you get answers to all your concerns before making an offer.
Learning about a house’s location, price, and condition is a sure way to determine how much you’re willing to pay. And remember, it’s always better to ask “trivial” questions now than to regret your life-changing decision later.
Do you need home buying tips or a guide to buying Williamsburg, VA real estate? Call our team at Coldwell Banker Traditions. We have been helping home buyers find their dream homes since 1885. Reach out to us by calling 757.229.9595 or sending an email to info(at)cbtraditions(dotted)com