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  • Writer's pictureTina Martin

There’s POWER in asking the right questions!


This content will benefit both Buyers and Sellers. Buyers, because you can glean information from the Seller’s answers that will help the decision making process. Sellers, because it identifies the questions Buyers might fire at you/your Realtor and gives you time to think about and be better prepared to answer.


QUESTIONS


BUYER: Why should you be in rush to make an offer? Does the house “speak” to you? If not, why buy it…it’s not worth it at any price.

BUYER: Will this house meet your needs not only today but in the future? How will your family change in the next 10+ years? Why go through the time, energy and expense of buying and moving again?


BUYER: Why is the Seller…selling? Why did the Seller put the house on the market? This might present a negotiating advantage.


Buyer: What’s happening in the local real estate market? IF you can identify one / several areas you like to look in, your ABR ( Authorized Buyer’s Representative ) can look into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and provide a reasonable summary of market conditions. How many home are listed for sale in those area? What’s the average Days-on-the-Market? Is it a Seller’s or Buyer’s market – who has greater negotiating strength?


Buyer: What is the Value of any particular home listed in the market for sale? Expect your ABR to provide a Competitive Market Analysis than reports “like” homes sold within the past 180-days. You’ll a range of prices and can look at pictures to better compare those sold homes to you home your considering. There are other statistics that your ABR can provide that can help you develop a negating strategy.


Buyer: What did the Seller pay for the home, and when? Public records are available that report the transfer price when the home last sold. What is the average price appreciation – every market is different. But using the local average the ABR/you can calculate what the home “should” be worth. This is only an indicator of value because the market determines what any house is worth based in Supply and Demand…and what someone is willing to pay. We’re coming out of a period where multiple offers drive up the offer price…and homes are being sold above list price.


Buyer: Is the seller currently considering other offers; and at what price? This is often hard/if not impossible. Listing Relators don’t like to share this information, but it doesn’t cost anything to have your ABR ask anyway. It may save you a few dollars.


Buyer: What else is included in the sale? Usually appliances stay with the house – especially if they’re built-in. Understand the age and condition of the appliances. However, sometimes other items might be negotiated into the sale. Things like patio furniture; gaming tables; bar items; grills; lawn & garden tools, etc. Also, a home warranty policy might be negotiated into the sale. The MLS listing shows what the seller intends to leave, so it it’s not listed and you’ve seen it negotiate it into the sale.


Buyer: What defects has the seller had to deal with / mitigate? In Ohio, as in other States, sellers have to provide a Property Disclosure (sometimes referred to as Seller Disclosure), and that should itemize any issues with the house during the past 5-years; and what the seller did to remedy the problem. However, it is strongly recommended a Home Inspection be done by a licensed professional. “Cosmetic” items might be reported, but issues affecting Health, Safety or Structural should be the seller’s responsibility.


Buyer: How old is the heating / air conditioner; and roof? The home inspector can usually estimate the date of manufacture of the furnace and A/C and water heater from the plates attached by the manufacturer. The roof is another story. Lenders typically will not lend on a house where the life of the roof is 3-years or less. The licensed home inspector can help estimate useful life of the roof if the seller doesn’t know. This should become a point of negotiation for your realtor.


Buyer: What are the utility costs, or HOA Fees? The seller should be able to itemize or provide an average of the utility costs. Likewise, the HOA Fees should be readily available. These are items the buyer should work into the household budget.


Buyer: What information is available about the local school system, medical facilities, shopping and entertainment in the area.

Buyer: Is the home subject to Natural Hazards? Most notably would be flood, sever storm or earthquake. The ABR can help, but the buyer needs to do their own research. Local area FEMA flood and seismic maps are available. Sometime insurance claims history can tell a great deal of the story. Ask the seller if there has been any, and when.


Buyer: When is the house available for occupancy? The seller typically needs time to pack and move out. The buyer might have needs relative to when they need to move in. It makes the “occupancy date” a point of negotiation sometimes. If time can be afforded the seller to move out, the seller can rent the house back from the buyer for at least what the buyer’s new mortgage is. It’s best to work it out on a peridium basis.


Buyer: What are the closing costs, and how much cash is needed to close? These questions are best answered by the Lender. However, sometimes part or all of the closing costs can be shared with the seller. It’s critical to know that before buyer and seller agree on a price for the home.


There most likely be follow-up questions from the answers the buyers receive. This is a major financial investment…so go slow, eye’s wide open. Look for an Accredited Buyer’s Rep that also carries the RENE (Real Estate Negations Expert) designation. They’re typically more experienced and hardened to protect your fiduciary interests, rather than recommending a quick purchase and collect their commission – which is paid for by the seller. If you have any additional questions, please call (330-620-0219) or visit my website: and let’s begin a Chat.


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