Your real estate agent is a key member of your team when you consider buying a home. They will be able to find houses that fit your budget and other desires, schedule visits, manage paperwork, negotiate prices, and more on your behalf. That is why it is so important to find an experienced, knowledgeable agent with whom you feel comfortable working on a relatively long term basis. Here are some critical pre-purchase questions to ask when buying a home to be sure you are making the right decision.
1. What is the Market Like in This Neighborhood?
Your real estate agent should have plenty of information about the state of the market in your neighborhood. This can tell you what to expect in the years to come, particularly if you know you will likely be moving again. If the neighborhood’s desirability changes, you may see the value of your own home change over time. It can also be helpful to know whether you should expect an influx of new neighbors or whether the neighborhood is more established.
2. What is This Property Worth?
Knowing what a property is worth by comparing the prices of similar homes can help you make a better offer on the home. It is important to give the seller a fair offer, so while some haggling is usually expected when it comes to buying a home, buyers should be careful. Going too low can harm your chances of having the offer accepted, while aiming too high can mean you pay much more than necessary. Asking your real estate agent to help you determine the house’s actual worth can help you offer a fair amount that satisfies your needs and those of the seller.
3. How Many Times Has the Property Been Sold?
A house that has been in the family for generations has likely never been sold for good reason. One that has been on the market several times over the last 10 years, though, may have some unseen issues that you should be aware of before making an offer. If the house is frequently on the market, ask your real estate agent to help you understand why so that you can make a smart decision. Similarly, the length of time the house has been on the market can tell you valuable information about its current state.
4. When Do the Sellers Have to Move?
If the sellers have to move quickly to get to a job in a new city or have other urgent reasons for selling, they may be willing to accept a lower price in order to stay on schedule. If they have no pressing reason to move, that leaves plenty of time to inspect the home and ask all the questions you need instead. Each scenario has its benefits, so speak to your real estate agent to determine a strategy. It may also be helpful to ask why the sellers are moving to unearth more information about the neighborhood and house.
5. How Much Are the Property Tax and Utility Bills?
There are so many things to pay for when buying a house, from closing costs to inspection fees. It can be easy for something small like property tax and utility bills to slip right through. However, asking about these costs can help you be sure that the house truly fits into your budget.
6. Can the Sellers Provide Owners Manuals?
New appliances, air conditioning and heating systems, and other gadgets can come with a steep learning curve. While receiving owners manuals for all of them should not be a dealbreaker, it can be helpful to give you a head start on your new home. It can also be helpful to know whether the systems and appliances are under warranty and who to call for replacement parts or repairs.
7. Are There Any Upcoming Assessments?
If your new home is part of a condo association or homeowners association, you will want to know as much as possible about how it operates. Check to see whether you will be responsible for paying into any upcoming capital improvements or repairs through one-time assessments in addition to monthly fees.
8. What Contingencies Are Worth Including?
When you receive the contract to purchase the house, you will be able to add contingencies that allow you to cancel the sale for particular reasons, such as an unsatisfactory inspection. Having too many can make sellers resentful, while not enough may leave you stuck with a bad purchase. Your real estate agent can provide expert guidance on which ones can protect you and which ones are unnecessary.
Finding an Agent Who Will Answer These Questions
It is important to find a knowledgeable real estate agent who understands your ideal neighborhood and can help you make a smart purchase. Speak to The Katie Zarpas Group for more information about buying a house and to speak to an experienced real estate agent about your needs. Zarpas has won several awards over the course of her career in recognition of her expertise and specializes in transactions within the Virginia Beach area. Reach out to her regarding any questions you may have when buying a home.