You’ve finally found your dream home! It has all the things on your checklist and more. You’re ready to write an offer, but first… ask some questions!
- What is the home’s sales history? This one you can find all on your own. The info will be on the MLS listing. This is important Intel, make sure you know it before you execute an offer. Knowing the previous sales price will give you a sense of what the sellers expect you to pay-keep in mind that a homes true market value is based on what comparable homes are selling for rather than what it has sold for in the past. But, sales history will show you whether the home’s price has fluctuated over time, which will help you in negotiations.
- Did the owners make any major renovations or additions? This one you can ask your Realtor. They can tell you if the kitchen was torn apart and redone, if a bedroom was added or maybe a basement was finished. Ideally you want to see the reciepts from the contractors to see what the owners paid for any upgrades. This will give you an idea of how much money they put into the home, and what they expect to get out of it. Depending on what renovation is done, most home improvements reap only about 64% return on average.
- How much are the property taxes? This info is available right on the listing detail page. If you cant find it, ask your Realtor. You want to find out what the previous owners paid. Property tax is based on a percentage of the value of the house.. and it will be affected by the purchase price.This could be a big expense, you’ll need to factor it into your budget before making an offer.
- Any monthly maintenance or utility costs? HOA(Home Owners Association) Fee’s? Find out. Learn what kind of power the house uses and ask for the average cost. Ask about water, trash and any utility you can think of. The owners should be able to give you an average cost for each.
- Has there ever been a broken pipe? Sewer problems? This one is unpleasant.. but according to the Insurance Information Institute, broke pipes account for an estimated 22% of all home insurance losses. Ask your inspector if they found any trace of pipe problems or sewer issues.
- How old is the roof? This one is super important, to me. A brand new roof will run you about $7,600. It would be good to know how soon you might need to cough up that kind of cash.
- Pest Infestations? If there was one, when were pest control procedures taken?
- Any warranties on appliances? If so, ask for documentation. This can establish how old the appliance is and how expensive it could be to get replaced.
- Unusual History? In most states, owners legally have to disclose if a death or major crime occurred in the home. It’s not the most polite question to ask, but I’d want to know. If the house has a history of being haunted or labeled as paranormal… you might have some extra negotiating power when you go to make the offer. Thanks, ghosties.