What to ask the Seller About the House You’re About to Buy

When it comes to forming your offer on a new house, your agent will be able to supply the answers to most of the questions you’ll have. But there are some things that only the seller can answer, as they are the ones that truly know what it’s like to live in the house. Here are some questions you can ask the seller to help you form your offer.

  1. Why did you decide to sell? This question lets you know how motivated they are to sell the property. Some are simply moving because they want an upgrade/downgrade, their kids moved out, or for other non-pressing reasons. Others need to sell and move as soon as possible. A motivated seller might be more flexible on the overall asking price, or less focused on the finer details of closing.
  2. How much did you pay for the home when you bought it? This will help you to understand how much the local market has grown since the time of the purchase, and also might give you a clue to where the owner’s bottom line might be. A homeowner who purchased their home at a price lower than the local market now is one who is going to make a profit no matter what. These homeowners might be more flexible on price, and maximizing their returns might not be their top motivation.
  3. What is your experience in the neighborhood? The answer to this question might vary wildly, but there is just some information that you cannot get from a visit or a walk-through. If the seller is more reserved about the general safety of the neighborhood, we recommend checking the local area crime statistics or at the local police station.
  4. How old is/are the:
    • Roof
    • Water heater
    • Septic tank/waste systems
    • Heating and cooling
    • Refrigerator
    • Oven
    • Windows
  5. When was the last time the home had major repairs, and who did them? Knowing who did the major work on the house can be important. Bad installation, wiring, and plumbing can end up costing a lot more money down the road. Make sure the owner used licensed contractors for their home repair, and if possible, look them up.

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