What Questions Home Sellers Will Try To Avoid?
Knowledge is power. This is true in so many areas of your life, and especially when you are buying a house. You need to know everything you can about the neighborhood, the home and the property value. Unfortunately, home sellers aren’t going to willingly share information that might drive down the price of the home. Here are a few questions home sellers are hoping you won’t think to ask.
Why do you want to move?
Sometimes the answer to this question is positive and does not affect the value of the home. They may be moving closer to family or their job. Other times, however, they are moving because the neighbors like to have wild parties on the weekend, and they don’t want you to know about that. While you cannot guarantee that you will get an honest answer, you may get some valuable information you wouldn’t have otherwise.
How much did your pay?
A home that has is nearly paid off will have a great deal of equity in it, and the owners may be more willing to come down in price. Owners who still owe a high amount will be firmer on price as they need more just to cover the mortgage. This information is a matter of public record, so you don’t even have to ask the owners.
How is the neighborhood?
This is another one of those tricky questions that can go either way. If you have kids, then you may be thrilled to hear that there are several other kids in the area around the same age as your own. However, if you want a very quiet home in the evenings with only the sound of birds to keep you company, then that may not appeal to you.
When did you last clean the furnace?
This is an excellent question because it reveals so much. Ideally, the furnace should be cleaned annually to maximize energy efficiency and prolong the life. Even cleaning it just once every two or three years is beneficial. More importantly, homeowners who make this investment in their appliances are more likely to have kept up with other maintenance items around the house.
Have you ever rented the home?
This question will take most sellers by surprise, and it’s an important one to ask. Rentals take a lot of abuse, and landlords who finally grow tired of renting won’t always fix problems correctly before selling. They may cover items with a haphazard repair that won’t hold, and that means that you should push for a lower price. If the owner knows that you are savvy enough to ask this question, then he or she may be more willing to negotiate.
How old are the roof, windows and HVAC system?
A new furnace, air conditioner and roof are fantastic benefits that home sellers want to brag about. However, if these items are aging, then they are hoping that you won’t ask for more information. Any of these items are a large investment, and that should be taken into account when deciding on an offer.
When you are looking at homes, chances are good that you will never see the seller. Real estate agents like to keep sellers and buyers separated, so it’s not always easy to ask these questions. However, if the opportunity arises, you should absolutely take the chance to talk candidly with the seller and get more information about the home. It can help you determine if the house is right for you, and the information can also be used to adjust your offer.
Jim Taylor has been a writer and a small business co-owner since 2008. He writes mostly about business, finance and real estate.
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