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What to Ask Your Real Estate Agent when Buying a House

woman homebuyer asking questions to her Anacortes WA Real Estate Agent

A common mistake first-time homebuyers make is to fall in love with a house at first sight. While the property may look like it ticks every box on their wish list, it still bears closer scrutiny. When searching for homes for sale, it’s crucial to learn everything you can about the properties.

One of the most important steps to buying a home is asking the right questions. Before making an offer, here are a few things you need to ask your Realtor:

ASK: How long has the house been on the market?

Finding out how long a property has been waiting for a buyer provides valuable clues to its desirability and possible condition. On average, a home’s most active selling period is within 7 to 20 days of being put on the market.

In most cases, properties that take longer to sell are overpriced. Owners eventually lower their asking price and become more eager to sell because of the delay.

If a home hasn’t received any offers in two months following a price reduction, then the property itself might have underlying issues. Ask your Realtor for the lowdown: are there structural issues? Is the sale of the home contingent upon the sellers finding a new home before they can move out?

It’s important to note that luxury properties don’t abide by the standard selling period. Luxury homes can take up to a year or more to sell because it’s a niche market.

ASK: Why is the owner selling?

Knowing the motivation of the seller will put buyers at a great advantage when it comes to crafting an offer. Putting out an offer isn’t all about providing the highest price. You should also think about the estimated closing time and other terms of the deal.

If the owner’s reason for selling is time-sensitive, they’ll be more motivated to accept an offer that guarantees a quick sale without additional requests.

This can also help buyers during the negotiation stage. Gauging a seller’s willingness to negotiate the price is easier when you know their motivation for selling.

ASK: How often has the property changed hands?

Learn about the ownership history of the property. A house that’s continuously being put on the market every few years is a red flag. This could mean problems with the property itself to nuisances in the neighborhood.

ASK: Were there any renovations done to the property?

If the answer is yes, ask your Realtor to request any permits for the renovation from the seller. Also, inquire about other improvements done to the home.

Any major changes to the overall structure of the home could affect its integrity and safety. If a property didn’t go through the proper channels during renovation, then the structure of the property could be compromised.

Be cautious when buying a property that’s been renovated without a permit. The renovations could be against zoning laws and end up with buyers paying a hefty fine or having to tear the improvements down.

ASK: Were there major defects?

It’s important to find out about past defects because they could lead to future problems. If a house had a leaky roof, it means there could be water damage in the ceiling or attic. Patched up cracks on walls could also be telltale signs of structural damage. Make sure your Realtor provides you with a copy of the Seller Disclosure for your review.

ASK: What is the neighborhood like?

In addition to finding out about the property itself, buyers should also look into the location. Ask about the community, school districts, traffic, and recreational opportunities nearby.

When comparing home prices, remember that each neighborhood has market trends specific to the area. Anacortes homes for sale, for example, are priced differently from other cities in Washington State.

ASK: What is included in the sale?

Find out everything that is included in the sale price and put it in writing. Buyers need to make certain that certain fixtures and/or appliances are included in the final contract before signing. The buyer and seller should be on the same page when it comes to what items are included with the final purchase to avoid any confusion.

If you’re thinking of moving to the West Washington State area, get the best home buying experience by working with THE GROESBECK GROUP. Call them today at 360.941.3734 or send an email to Info(at)JeanGroesbeck(dotted)com.