Top 10 Questions to Ask your Real Estate Agent
Questions to ask a real estate agent when buying property.
Buying a house can be daunting at the best of times. Open inspections can also add to the stress as they can often be intimidating; the real estate agents are rushed and there are throngs of buyers you must contend with. As overwhelmed as you might be feeling, you need to look at an open inspection as an opportunity and your best game plan is to arrive prepared. And being prepared means asking the right questions.
When you manage to steal the agent’s attention, make sure to ask these key 10 questions.
1. Can I obtain a property sales report?
This is probably the most important question to ask. You want to make sure the house you are buying is fairly priced and in line with the rest of the local market. A recent sales report will allow you to see what similar properties have sold for in the area. Armed with this knowledge means you’ll have better negotiating power if you want to make an offer.
2. How old is the property?
It isn’t surprising that older houses require more upkeep and the upkeep can be expensive. Enquiring about the age of the property lets you see if it has sound structure and a quality construction.
3. How long have the previous owners lived in the house and why they are selling?
This could be your secret weapon when it comes to bargaining. If the current owners have already bought a new home, they could be in a rush to sell and you may be able to go in with a cheeky offer. Other factors, like divorce or death, could play a role. knowing the reason behind the sale is vital information for a buyer.
4. How long has the property been on the market for?
If a property has been on the market for a while you can assume it is either overpriced or there may be an underlying fault or defect. If the property was taken to auction and failed to sell, you might want to dig around and find out what the cause was.
5. Are there any known issues with the property, has the house had any major building work or renovations done recently?
Your building inspector should be able to pick up any potential issues, however, asking the agent beforehand might save you time and money. They want a successful sale and are therefore more likely to be upfront if they know of any issues that may affect your decision. Always request a copy of the building inspection report to know exactly what you are buying.
6. What is included in the sale?
Make sure you agree upfront on everything that is or isn’t included when buying a house. Good items to consider are white goods, such as a dishwasher or any laundry appliances, any fixtures or fittings you particularly fancy and don’t forget about the garden shed. Settling this before you pay a deposit could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Don’t forget to test appliances that are included in the sale to make sure they are in good working order.
7. What are the bills like?
A significant expense that some home buyers forget about is council rates. Make sure this is in line with your expectations to qualify for your mortgage and ensure you will be able to service your repayments. Also ask about average utility bills, possible Strata levies and work out if the running costs of the property are manageable.
8. Can you turn off the lights?
Estate agents are notorious for staging houses to make them look their best, and in all honesty, why wouldn’t they?
A good tip is to always turn off the lights in each room, so you can get a real feel for the natural light in a home. There is nothing worse than living in a dark house and people who have done it, will only make that mistake once. Make sure the house you are interested in has plenty of good natural light. Viewing the property on a cloudy rainy day is even better as you can gauge the light at its worst.
9. Can I try the water pressure?
Water pressure can be costly to improve, and testing the pressure could also reveal any plumbing issues. Turn the kitchen, bathroom and laundry taps on and off, plus any showers or bath taps and don’t forget to flush the toilets.
10. What are the neighbours like?
More often than not your new neighbours will merely be the friendly face you greet in the mornings, but if things go wrong across the fence, they can go seriously wrong. Identifying bad neighbours in advance isn’t easy but it may be worth a few extra trips to the property at night or at different times to get a feel for the neighbourhood. Another great tip is to check on social media neighbourhood groups and read up on any particular issues in your new neighbourhood or street.