Navigating the purchase of your first home can be an uncertain and intimidating experience. As you begin the process of transitioning into home ownership it is important that you stay informed at every step of the process. Here are five questions that you need to ask your real estate agent prior to buying a home. Some of the questions may allow you more room to negotiate and others will alert you to potential problems down the road. All of them will help you be a more informed buyer.
Why Are They Selling?
While you may not get an entirely truthful answer, knowing why the seller is listing the house can be a powerful negotiating tool.
Is the seller moving out of the country? Do they need more space for a baby on the way? Do they have to move because of a changing employment situation?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it means that you may have more leverage during negotiations. Sellers that are facing big life changes are more likely to want the process of selling a home to go quickly.
What Type of Foundation Does the House Sit On?
Knowing what type of foundation your new home was built on is critical in forecasting heating/air-conditioning expense and identifying potential future repairs.
Slab foundations are cheap to install and offer protection against termites and mold, but in hot areas they offer no room for airflow to help keep the house cool.
Crawl space foundations offer better protection against cold but are costlier than a slab foundation. If the crawl space holds moisture, mold can be an issue.
Basement foundations have the added value of providing additional square footage but are notorious for flooding in high-water areas.
When Was the Roof Installed?
Depending on the type of roofing, the lifespan of a roof varies between 15 and 50 years. Older roofs approaching the end of their lifecycle may need general repair or even replacement.
Newer roofs will be a selling point for the home, so if it has been recently replaced they will most likely have that fact in their literature.
Have There Been Any Major Repairs?
Knowing what kind of repairs have been performed already can clue you in as to what issues you may have to deal with later.
If structural supports were replaced due to termite damage, you can expect to have issues with termites in the area. If there was a black mold issue, you will have to be on the lookout for mold going forward
Any knowledge of these major repairs potentially gives you more negotiating room.
How Much Did They Pay for the House?
Knowing how much a seller paid for their house can be invaluable in determining how much they are willing to negotiate. If the home was purchased at a much lower price than the current listing the seller may be more inclined to drop their price as it only cut in to their profits.
If, however, the seller is just looking to not take a loss on the home they may be firm in their pricing.
Seller’s may not be forthright in declaring this information but if that is the case the selling price of a home is often publicly available from real estate listing sites.
These five questions are just a starting point for what you need to know when buying your first home. Trust your realtor and don’t let any questions go unasked so that you can feel confident in your purchase.
Danny Margagliano is a real estate agent in the Destin, Florida area. If you are in the market for a Destin beachfront condo reach Danny at 850-830-4747.