August 25th, 2018 5:24 PM by Jackie A. Graves, President
buying a house is high on your priority list and you spot The One—the
house that has everything you've ever dreamed of and more—it can be tempting to
put pedal to the metal and close the deal as quickly as possible. But slow
No home is
perfect beneath the surface, and few know this better than your real estate
agent. And that means it's time to sit down with this professional and pepper
him with questions about the place you're hoping to make your own.
certain questions seem rather obvious—should you offer full price, how soon can
you close—there are many others you may not think to ask an agent at this
pivotal juncture. But you should!
are six questions to ask a real estate agent to flush out what he's truly
thinking, that could help you figure out if this place is really right for you.
1. ‘Would you buy this house?’
question may be the ultimate litmus test of whether you should purchase a home.
If your agent would have reservations about buying the house for himself,
that’s a waving red flag. So if you get the sense your agent isn't as
enthusiastic about the home as you are, ask why. His answer might give you
2. ‘What is the sales history of this house, and how would it
affect my offer?’
making an offer on a house, ask your agent for the property’s sales history,
Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in
previously an expired listing? Was it leased? Was it ever a bank-owned property or
other type of distressed home? These factors could suggest a home has been
a struggle to sell—which could mean you could snap up this home at a
and sellers get cold feet about
the purchase or sale of a home, they sometimes think they can just back
out,” says Linda Sanderfoot, a real estate agent at
Coldwell Banker in Neenah, WI. But when a seller accepts a buyer's offer, both
parties sign a legal and binding contract—an official document that requires
the buyer and seller to execute the transaction.
So how binding
that contract is depends on the details. Some contracts have contingencies
built in that enable the buyer or seller to walk away from the deal without
penalty. And contingencies are
often included for a home inspection and
But note that
having too many
contingencies tends to turn off sellers, so make sure to strike the right
balance by asking your real estate agent for guidance. For instance, you might
be OK waiving a home inspection contingency if the home is newly constructed,
whereas it's more essential with an older home that might need extensive
purchase a condominium or a
home within a homeowners association,
you’ll receive the HOA's financial documents, which outline important
information such as reserve funds and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).
docs and disclosures can be hundreds of pages long—which could overwhelm home
buyers, who could forget to check if there are any upcoming assessments.
Assessments are periodic one-time payments made to the HOA above and beyond the
monthly fee, usually to cover capital improvements or repairs. Since they will
affect your monthly housing expenses, you'll want to know whether they could go
up anytime soon—and your agent is adept at navigating these documents to
pinpoint the answer.
estate agents hear everything about
what's happening in the communities where they do business. And although
federal fair housing laws prohibit real estate agents from commenting on a
neighborhood’s demographics, your agent can still give you advice on whether
you’re making a solid investment based on local housing market trends and
economic factors that affect home values.
So go ahead
and ask: Are the neighborhood’s home prices rising or falling? Are there new
amenities (e.g., parks, shopping, public transportation, Whole Foods) being
built in the area?
are all important things to consider before buying a house, and a real
estate agent can help you cut through the noise and really tell you what's up.
expertise matters not only with the real estate agent you hire, but also the
other professionals you could meet while negotiating this real estate deal.
So if you need recommendations for a home inspector, handyman, real estate
attorney, or anyone else on your home-buying journey, make sure to ask your
agent for recommendations to boost the odds of smooth sailing.
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