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9 Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents When Buying a House

Shopping for your next home is a big, stressful, and hugely exciting undertaking. Depending on your timeline and budget, you might be overwhelmed with options, or struggling to find even one home that fits your requirements. Whatever the case is, having a reliable real estate agent on your side will make the process a lot smoother.

A real estate agent is an individual with knowledge of the area and transactions needed to buy a home. The real estate agent operates based on commissions that can be advanced. It is in the real estate agent’s best interest to secure the home buyer a great deal, which can earn them a hefty commission fee as well.

Of course, in order to make the most of the services available from the agent you employ, it is important to know what kind of questions you should be asking. Here are nine great questions to ask real estate agents when buying a house:

Question #1: Why has the owner decided to sell?

Although it is likely that you’ll end up with some kind of generic answer to this question, it has the potential to be revelatory in certain instances. Are they simply relocating due to work or family reasons, or it is because the house is falling apart? Knowing the seller’s motivations will likely help you determine how much work needs to be done to the house and whether or not it is something you want to take on.

It is also good to know how long they have lived there and what sort of problems they have experienced during that time. Furthermore, if the seller is moving because he or she has to be somewhere else within a predetermined time, they may be more willing to negotiate on price.

Question #2: What’s the market like in this part of town?

Another question to ask a real estate agent when buying a house is what’s the market like in the part of the town. If you’re moving to a new neighborhood, it is critical to do some research before deciding to buy. A little investigation might quickly reveal that the neighborhood is experiencing a stretch of foreclosures and that property values are dropping.

Although you might think this would be revealed by a bunch of for sale signs and seemingly vacant buildings, it is also possible that the market could be in decline but that the signs have not yet revealed themselves. Always refer to the agent and ask direct questions regarding whether or not there are any concerns that the neighborhood may decrease in desirability.

Question #3: What do they think the property is worth?

Despite the fact that your agent can’t tell you exactly what you should offer, they can definitely point you towards other similar homes in the area. The real estate agent help you make a decision based on that response. Having a series of comparable properties supplied by your agent will help you make an educated offer that you can feel good about.

Question #4: How flexible is the asking price?

It’s a good idea to understand the context under which you’re entering into negotiations. In some cases, lowballing it off the bat could cause the seller to be offended and you could lose your chance at purchasing the home. Talk to your agent or the listing agent to ask about what the seller’s expectations are and whether or not they are willing to negotiate on their asking price.

Question #5: Are there any disclosures you should know about?

It is required by law that sellers disclosure certain problems about the home. With that being said, it is also your responsibly to ensure that you’re fully informed regarding what all of these issues are.

When buying a house, always ask your real estate agent for these disclosures so you can know what’s going on with the home and what state its systems and appliances are in before you make an offer.

Question #6: Has the property been sold repeatedly?

Knowing how often the property has been sold might be revealing. If, for instance, the property has been on and off the market multiple times within the last 10 years, it could be due to the fact that the owners continue to encounter the same problem. Ask your agent how often the home has been moved out of, and if the number seems high, ask why.

Question #7: Has the home been on the market for a long time?

This could be another sign that something is amiss. If the property has been sitting on the market for a long time, something fishy might be going on. In the event that your agent does confirm that the property has been available for a while, ask for an explanation.

Question #8: What about property tax and utility bills?

This is an important one that should not be overlooked. On top of determining whether or not you can afford the home itself, you also need to assess whether or not you can afford to live there. It’s always a good idea to plan a budget and knowing some of the extra costs involved can help you plan ahead.

Question #9: Is there the accompanying paperwork for the mechanical systems?

You’re always well advised to ask for the paperwork on the mechanical systems and appliances throughout the home. If they don’t have paperwork on the systems and appliances, it’s hard to know if the mechanical systems are under warranty, or what they need for repairs and parts.

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