10 Things That You Need to Know Before Buying a Home
A good real estate listing agent will be on top of the routine items such as property tax amounts, basic info on the owner and even the existing mortgage. However, most sellers are reluctant to tell everything about their current situation. And sometimes the information that is crucial to the selling of a home requires a little investigation. Here are the top things a person needs to know before buying their next home.
1. What is currently owed on the home? If the current owner has an existing mortgage then that amount will need to be paid off in order to sell the home. Otherwise the lender will have to consider a short sale. Knowing how much is currently owed can help you determine how much room you have to negotiate.
2. What is the neighborhood like? Realtors® will usually not offer an opinion due to potential code of ethics concerns, but it is perfectly OK to ask for a neighbors opinion.
3. What prompted the seller to put the home on the market? There are many things that will trigger the sale of a home. Getting the details on the “why” will help understand if the reasons are personal or if there is something wrong with the home.
4. How long has the current roof been in place? A roof covered in traditional shingles will typically have a 15 to 20 year life span. If the roof has not been replaced in the past 20 years then it may be time for a new one. A quality roof can cost up to $7,000. This can be too much for some homeowners that are using up their savings just for the purchase.
5. How long has the current owner lived in the home? Knowing this information can help you determine if the homeowner has had a chance to build up any substantial equity. People that have been in their home for 10+ years will typically have paid down the balance and enjoy a nice cushion of equity. On the other hand, an owner that just purchased the home within the past 5 years may owe what the home is worth, or worse, owe more than the property’s value.
6. Does the seller have a deadline? Some sellers will need to sell quickly due to job relocation, children starting school or a host of other reasons. It is important to have this information up front to inform your mortgage broker.
7. How long has the home been vacant? Sometimes a buyer may be looking at a home that has been empty for a while. The seller may be a surviving sibling or child that inherited the home and wants to sell. If nobody has lived in the home for the most recent month, there could be some maintenance issues.
8. Is there something about the home that the seller will not miss? Most homes and neighborhoods are not perfect. If the seller is willing to answer this question it could reveal a lot about the property and the seller’s attitude toward the place.
9. How long has it been since the air conditioner and heater was serviced? You are trying to find out if the most expensive system in the home has been properly maintained.
10. What is your bottom dollar? Most sellers will have a number that they feel they must get in order to sell the property. Getting this information can help you decide if you really want the home or if you wish to continue shopping.