Nearly 89% of home buyers use brokers or real estate agents when purchasing a home. Only 5% buy directly from the seller.

A home is a valuable investment. You should only get it through the right means, and the right people. You should also get detailed information about the house before buying it.

A conversation with the realtor will help you know more about the house, clear your doubts, and give you peace of mind. Here are the top questions to ask your realtor before buying the home.

Questions to Ask About the Costs

A home is a costly investment. You should know the expected costs that you will incur so that you can plan well. Here are the main cost-related questions to ask:

1. What’s the Buying Price?

You might have seen the price on an advert, but the realtor should still mention the price once more. They should breakdown the total selling costs to know what you will be paying for.

Many home sellers compare the price of neighborhood homes when determining the sale price. Others consider the value of the materials of the appliances.

Find out the pricing criteria, compare the house with others, and confirm that it is worth the cost. Ensure that there are no hidden costs for buying the home.

2. What’s the Closing Cost?

Many homes have a down payment, which you must pay to show your commitment to buying it. On average, the closing costs take 3% to 5% of the total purchase cost, although it can go up to 10%.

For instance, if you are buying the house for $300,000, then the closing costs would range between $6,000 and $15,000. When you know of the closing costs, you will plan well and apply for the right mortgage.

3. What Does the Sale Include?

Find out the exact things which the house sale includes. Usually, all the appliances attached to the home are transferred to the seller upon buying. These appliances include the cabinets, the heaters, faucets, and so on.

However, some sellers do not transfer everything, and that’s why you should inquire. Your realtor should write all the things which the sale will include, and which are excluded.

You can also ask for the things you are interested in, and they are not parts of the sale. For instance, maybe you would like an outdoor playground structure in the compound, but it is not part of the sale package.

4. How Much Do the Utilities Cost?

The normal utilities include electricity, water bills, sewerage bills, HVAC costs, internet, etc. The house’s buying price might be low, but the utilities might make your stay unbearable.

So, ask your realtor about the average costs for the utilities. Ensure that the utilities fit your budget, and you can comfortably pay them without straining your monthly budget. If the costs seem too high, but you would still like to buy the home, find new strategies for living a greener life.

Questions to Ask a Realtor Regarding the Risks of the Home

If the house fits your budget, go ahead and consider the safety of the house. Are there any risks? Will you be safe?

The following questions will help you get the right answers:

5. Why Are You Selling the House?

Find out why the previous homeowner left the house. Many people relocate due to job transfer, or when the house is too small for them. Others relocate to live closer with their families and friends.

Only a small percentage move due to undesirable factors in the house or the neighborhood. When you know the relocation reason, you will make a more informed decision.

You might also be lucky to get a discount, mainly if the seller needs to close the sale within a short period.

6. Is the Location Prone to Natural Disasters?

Natural disasters include floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and so on. If you have never lived in areas prone to these disasters, you probably don’t know how to protect yourself or handle the situation.

Therefore, it would be great to confirm the vulnerability of the house’s location before you buy it. If the area is prone to disasters, you may decide to quit or apply for the necessary insurance.

7. Does the House Have a History of Insurance Claims?

A house with past insurance claims may affect the amount of premiums you will be paying. Many past claims may also affect your future applications for new insurances.

Since insurers manage risks, they consider multiple applications risky. Refrain from any home which has numerous past insurance applications. You may apply for a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to know any past incidences which might have happened in the house.

8. How Is the Neighborhood?

A bad neighborhood can make your life in the new house unbearable. For this reason, you should confirm that the neighboring areas are friendly, and they favor your condition.

The main neighborhood factors to consider include schools, markets, other homes, leisure and enjoyment zones, shopping centers, etc.

The best neighborhood should make your life easy for you. For instance, if you have kids, then a nearby school would be beneficial to you. A growing market would also make your shopping more convenient.

Your realtor should give you the right answers, or even take you around the neighborhood.

9. How Long Has the House Been in the Market?

The realtor should tell you the number of months or weeks that the house has been in the market. If the house has been on sale for a long time, it could mean that it has a problem.

Maybe its fixtures are old, the location is not favorable, or the price is too high. You may also avoid the homes which have been in the market for less than 21 days. That period is too small to judge the legibility of the seller and the reason for the sale.

As a rule of thumb, you should consider the homes which have been in the market for at least 90 days. Nevertheless, you should avoid placing high offers in the houses you doubt.

Questions to Ask Your Realtor Regarding the House Condition

A house can’t be perfect. There could be a few things affecting its functional and aesthetic features. Ask the following questions to know the condition of the home:

10. How Old Is the Roof?

If the roof is not new, then you would like to know its age. The average life expectancy for roof ranges between 15 to 50 years, depending on the materials, weather conditions, and the installation.

If you know the roof’s current age, you will learn how to maintain it well to prolong its expectancy. If it’s old, you may replace it before you buy the house.

11. How Old Are the Appliances?

It’s frustrating to move to a new house only to experience breakages. From rusty faucets to old furnaces and condensers, the appliances can mess you up and make you spend more.

The best way to prevent this is to confirm how long the appliances have been in use. As a bonus, you may ask the realtor if the devices had warranties. The warranties may provide a handy solution to any breakage or reduced appliance’s performance.

12. Have There Been Past Problems in the House?

Home inspectors will only tell you the current issues in the problems. They will not disclose any past issues of the house.

For instance, maybe the house has had a leaky roof in the past. Or perhaps, the sinks have had a clogging problem which affected the entire plumbing issues.

The house might have been repaired, but the issues might re-occur. If you familiarize yourself with those issues, you will know what to expect in the future, and how to handle the problem before you settle there.

Questions to Ask Regarding the People Who Will Help You

Don’t focus too much on the house and forget about the real estate agent and the mortgage brokers. These people may help you, or even mislead you. Here are great questions to ask before hiring a realtor online:

13. What’s Your Experience in Real Estate?

You should only work with an experienced real estate agent. They should have been in the industry for an extended period. If you are their first client, they will be doing trial and error, and they might end up making many mistakes.

The best realtors should have been in the industry for more than five years. They should be persuasive, and they should be ready to explain everything to you in detail.

14. Will You Attend the House Inspection?

Avoid a realtor who is not willing to accompany you during the home inspection process. The best agent should be present to confirm the inspection results and help you make good decisions.

You are investing millions of money in the house, and you can’t afford to make mistakes. The ideal realtor should be present or delegate someone else to oversee the process.

15. Are You a Full-Time Realtor?

Don’t work with a part-time real estate agent. That person may not have the right skills, or worse, they may not help you accomplish the project well.

A full-time realtor will guarantee you full-time availability. You will easily connect with them, and they will represent you in many places if you are not available.

Get More Helpful Insights

The real estate market swings often. It can favor the sellers, the buyer, or even be neutral. Therefore, you can find other questions to ask your realtor according to the condition of the market. Do your research on the best time to buy a house, and work with an experienced realtor who can offer helpful insights.

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