A home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make, so it pays to do your research ahead of time. Make sure you gather all the information available to you during each step of the buying process, from the first contact with the seller until the sale is finalized. Make sure that you ask the seller these important questions before you put in an offer on a home.
Important Question #1: Why are you selling the home?
Understanding a seller’s motivation for selling the home can give you valuable insight into what kind of offer they might accept. If they are in a hurry to sell the home, they might be willing to accept a lower offer. This is more common than one might think. Changes in employment or family situation can necessitate a quick move and therefore a quick sale.
However, other sellers might not be as motivated. If the seller listed the home to test the waters of the local market, they might not accept a low offer. In fact, they might decide not to accept any offer at all. Make sure the seller is motivated to sell before you spend a lot of time trying to negotiate the price.
Important Question #2: What major updates have you done in the last 5 years?
A seller will almost always be happy to talk about the updates and renovations that they have done on a home. However, you can learn a lot by what they do and do not mention. If they do not have a solid answer to this question, chances are they have not updated the home recently. This means that the property might need updates soon and may or may not be truly move-in ready.
Important Question #3: Have there been any major repairs recently?
For the most part, the home inspection will uncover any major repairs that need to be done immediately. However, it is nice to know when past repairs occurred. This can give you a good idea of whether or not there are major expenses coming up. For example, the roof might be in good shape now, but if it was last replaced 10-15 years ago, you might be looking at a new roof in the next few years.
This question will also tell you if the house has any recurring problems. One common recurring problem is a crack in the foundation. If the current owner repaired the foundation twice in the last decade, this is a good sign that it may need additional repairs in the future.
While you should always do your own research, your real estate agent will be able to guide you in the right direction when it comes to meeting the seller and negotiating the contract.
To learn more about what you should or should not do before the sale is finalized, contact Francine McElhenny at 772.925.9587 or francine(at)francinekidder(dotted)com. She is well-equipped to offer personalized advice and guide you towards a successful home purchase.