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6 Questions to ask a Realtor® when buying a home

June 22, 2022 | By Chuck Shaver
By Chuck Shaver

I am surely not the smartest guy in town; however, I’m smart enough to know that I do not have all the answers about all things. One thing I do know is that when I have hundreds of thousands of dollars in play, I want professional advice to ensure that I make choices that are good for me, my family and my wallet. Today I will be addressing 6 important questions you should always ask your Realtor® before buying a house.

  1. What location should I choose?

You’ve heard it said “Location, Location, Location”, so don’t get to this point and forget the basics. Ask your Realtor® about why you may or may not like this area. If you’re new to the area, they should be able to point out factors to consider such as proximity to shopping, entertainment and nearby towns; style of homes in the area, or to help persuade your or dissuade you based on what you are looking for. Perhaps there are train tracks or an exotic animal rescue with roaring lions (YES-it’s happened!) that you aren’t aware of; or perhaps they’re aware of a planned highway coming nearby; or they’ve heard rumors of a new auto mall right down the street. What about crime and quality of local schools? For that, you’ll likely need to go online. A quick 15-minute search could provide an abundance of data to support-or not-your decision to purchase in this area. Realtors are often forbidden to speak to these topics, as we are here in Florida. Once you sign on the dotted line, it can be very expensive to up and move again!

  1. Would you be willing to provide some comparables to help me make a good offer?

Your Realtor® should have an idea of whether this home is appropriately priced or not; however, markets can change quickly and most Realtors cover a wide area making it virtually impossible to be able to price a home on the spot. A good Realtor® should have no problem taking the time to search their database to provide factual, real-time data to help you make a wise choice. Once armed with this data, you may be better equipped to consider your concessions and contingencies for an offer.

  1. What contingencies and concessions should I include in my offer?

Contingencies? Concessions? What is that?

Concessions are clauses in a contract that require another party to concede something in the contract. For instance, you may need the seller to assist with some of your closing costs or leave the swimming pool furniture or their classic car in the garage.

Contingencies are clauses in a contract that allow you to back out of a contract after you have signed. Common contingencies include qualifying for a mortgage, having an acceptable home inspection and the requirement that your current home sells before you purchase a new home.

Your Realtor® should have a feel on what you may or may not be able to get away with asking for based on the climate of today’s market. For instance, in a Seller’s Market, asking a seller to make any concessions can be deal killers – but in a Buyer’s Market, in some circumstances you may seriously ask yourself about how you’d look riding around in that 55 Chevy Bel air!

  1. Has this property already fallen through this time on the market?

Ask about the recent sales history of the property. Sometimes deals will fall through for one reason or another. Find out why. Perhaps the seller is simply refusing to make any repairs or although the roof is functional, maybe the previous buyer’s home inspectors advised that a new roof was in order. Or, perhaps it was a simple matter of previous buyer’s financing falling through. You don’t want to be the latest in a long string of bad news. Plus, this knowledge could help you to make an informed decision when making an offer.

  1. Speaking of the roof, ask your Realtor® to provide a summary of the condition of the major components of the home? Age of roof, AC, electrical panel and type of plumbing.

It is important to know that most Realtors have little knowledge of these matters (including me) and are not home inspectors; however, we often have the ability to look at a Seller’s Disclosure, ask the Listing Agent, or look ourselves. A simple look at an air conditioning unit can tell you the relative age of the unit and a quick look around the hot water heater may reveal polybutylene plumbing. Again, your Realtor shouldn’t be counted on here to be an expert in this area, but if it is readily available, then use that information to your advantage.

  1. Would YOU buy this home?

Don’t be afraid to ask your Realtor® for their opinion here. While Realtors surely want you to buy a home, you may be surprised how often they may suggest another home. If you don’t ask, your Realtor® may be afraid to share their opinions with you. Emotions can rule the day in this area, so ask for their opinion for a different point of view. They might tell you it is the perfect home, but I am never shy about sharing my concerns when I am asked and I have told buyers to take a pass and move.

The purchase of a home can be a scary process and your Realtor should be advising you, holding your hand, throughout the entire process to help you navigate wisely. If you have additional questions that you feel are important, reach out to me or Kyla directly.

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