Key questions to ask a home sellerMichelle McQuade | December 23, 2019
After you’ve done your initial research, browsed through a couple of listings, and thought about what features or type of location you’d like to have, it’s likely you will already have a good idea of the kind of home you want to buy.
Once you find one that matches all of your requirements and preferences however, it’s still a good idea to get answers to a few important questions about the home, so you can get peace of mind on your purchase.
So before you consider placing an offer, here are several key questions to ask a home seller:
Why are you selling?
Different home sellers have different reasons behind their decision to sell, such as job relocation, life events, the desire to move into a larger or smaller home, and so on.
Keep in mind that while you might not get a 100% honest answer, knowing the reason why someone is selling their home can help you gauge how much room you have for negotiating. For example, the seller might be more willing to accept a lower offer in case they’re pressed for time. If they’re not in a rush to relocate however, that means you’ll have little room no negotiate for a lower price.
How much did you originally purchase the home for?
Knowing how much the seller paid for the home is important for several reasons. First, it gives you some insight on the local market, showing you whether values have increased or decreased since the seller bought the home. Next, it gives you a clue on how open the seller might be to negotiation – if they bought it at an affordable price, they might be willing to accept a lower offer, since it will still give them a decent profit.
Are there any problems with the neighborhood?
Heavy traffic, increased noise levels, speeding, crime, litter, and unusual odors are just some of the many things that can affect a neighborhood. Again, don’t expect a detailed answer, but trying to find out if there’s anything you should know about the area can be helpful before you decide to make an offer.
You should also drop by the local police department to get information on crime statistics for the neighborhood.
Were any major repairs performed on the home in recent years?
Faulty plumbing, subpar renovations, and shoddy construction can cause a huge impact financially as well as emotionally. Knowing whether any major repairs or renovations were performed is something you need to know about. It’s also important to find out which projects were done by a licensed contractor, and which ones were DIY projects.
Ask the home seller if he or she can provide a building permit for repairs that require one, such as structural additions, roofing, adding or relocating plumbing fixtures or electrical outlets, and installing or replacing an HVAC system.