Buying a home is typically the largest investment you would make. You’re likely to spend a lot of time searching for your dream house. When you’re buying a home for the first time, the process could be overwhelming. By the time you’re ready to buy a house, you must’ve done all your research. However, there are some questions to ask your seller to kill that investigative instinct and enjoy a smooth buying process.
A conversation with the seller, the seller’s agent (if any), and digging out some reviews from public records can set a straight tone for you to make smarter decisions. Not only will this help in building a trustworthy relationship with the seller, but also help you understand what you’re walking into.
Here are 5 important questions to ask the seller while buying the house.
- Why Are You Selling?
There could be various reasons for one to relocate or to sell their house. It could be a new job, getting married, moving closer to the family, childbirth, or a desire to move into a smaller/larger house. While you may not always get an honest answer, asking why the seller is moving will give you an idea of negotiation.
If the seller is desperate to sell, the chances of negotiating are quite high. But if the seller is in no hurry, the room for negotiation would be less.
- What Is Included In The Sale?
Anything that is immovable and permanently attached to the home is assumed to be included in the final sale. Amenities such as faucets, cabinets, and window blinds are considered as fixtures. The legal definition of fixtures do determine what is and what is not included in the sale, however, things may fall in a gray area leading to misunderstandings.
When in doubt, always ask the seller what;s included in the sale and take it down in writing. Pay attention to intricate details such as outdoor play equipements, sheds, lighting fixtures, appliances, window treatments, wall-mounted sound system and anything you feel is not in a good fit.
- Are There Any Problematic Neighbours or Area Botheration?
When you move into a new neighbourhood, the last thing you’d want is neighbours who are a problem and an area that would be unsafe or too much hindrance for you. There could be nuisance created in the neightbourhood due to several factors such as traffic commotion, speeding on community streets, unpleasant noises (dogs barking, loud neighbours, local businesses, etc), crime, bothersome odors of cigarettes or litter, poor maintainance, and bright lights.
Question your seller about the in and outs of the neighborhood along with understanding if the people living here are friendly. While you may not get a detailed answer, it is always better to ask such questions before taking the final call.
If you fail to get any convincing answers, you can always visit the police department to search the statistics of that area.
- Have There Ever Been Any Problems With The House?
This question being wide in context, you can cover things that you may have missed out on asking. Though the sellers are not legally obliged to answer this, it is always better to ask this question to have a total understanding of the house.
If there was any damage, ask who did the repairs and borrow their contact details. Maintenance is a crucial part of home ownership; you will be less stressed if you’re better prepared,
- What Is This Property’s History Of Insurance Claims?
The hisotry of insurance claims has a lot to do with your ability as a homeowners insurance or the price you’ll pay as a coverage. While this may sound like another hurdle in buying a house, think of it as a warning. If the house has faced a fire related issue, chances are this could lead to a lot more other issues such as leakage or poor interiors.
Insurers may consider the property as risky if they find out about past damages. Wondering how do I find out about the past mishaps? Ask the owner for a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report (CLUE) which holds a seven-year record of insurable incidents that have occured in the past.
Questions are a homebuyers best friend. Ask for the littlest of the details because this is going to be your abode for the next couple of years. Being a first time buyer, this process can be intimidating but with the help of FSBO real estate websites like Houzeo or RedFin, you are guided without increasing the complexities. For what’s likely to be your largest financial commitment, asking tons of questions is justified. Ask the right questions before making an offer to avoid any discomfort and save a lot of money.