What Should I Ask My Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home?

Buying a home comes with many questions. Find out what questions to ask your real estate agent at the beginning of your home search.

Since buying a house is an enormous investment, it’s best to know what questions to ask at the beginning of your home search. Acquiring information about the qualifications of your agent and the homebuying process can help protect you from unpleasant surprises and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Here are some essential inquiries to make:

Are You Experienced?

Question agents about their qualifications. Ask if they specialize in particular communities. Inquire about how many years of experience they have and their percentage of successful transactions.

Should I Rent or Buy?

It’s wise to purchase a home when your financial situation is sufficiently strong. Renting may be a better option if you lack the funds needed for a down payment, have debt, or a low credit score. Your agent can give you a buy-versus-rent analysis within your market.

What Are the Costs of Homeownership?

First-time homebuyers may not be aware that the costs of homeownership extend beyond the monthly payments on the principal and interest of the loan. Expenses also include taxes and insurance, as well as utilities and maintenance. The exact monetary outlay may be difficult to estimate, but your agent can give you a general idea of what to expect.

What Preparations Do I Need to Make Before I Can Write an Offer?

In certain areas, a property won’t stay on the market long, so you need to be prepared to act quickly when you come across your dream house. Give your agent a realistic price range of what fits your budget, and then he or she can help you navigate the process of getting the necessary cash in an account that is ready to use.

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How Do I Learn More About the House and/or Neighborhood?

Before you sign the dotted line, you’ll want to know more about the neighborhood you may be moving to. Ask your agent to provide insight into the livability of a neighborhood. You should also ask your agent if the property is in close proximity to a major source of noise like a train station or busy freeway. 

Has the Property Changed Ownership Often?

Finding out how long the present owner has lived in the house can help you figure out if there are long-term issues with the property or the surroundings. 

May I Speak to the Sellers?

Having a direct conversation with the seller can be a great advantage because sometimes they will be candid about the reason they’re moving, and any aspects of the property. If possible, contact the former owner for another opportunity to discover more about the property.

When Was the House Last Updated?

With the intent of uncovering needed updates that could pose a major expense, ask when the house was last updated. Inquire specifically about the age of the roof, wiring, and appliances. See if the drainage system needs to be replaced.

What is the Minimum Offer the Seller Will Accept?

See if the seller is willing to negotiate on the lowest acceptable offer. Speak to your real estate agent to develop a sound plan for negotiation that will keep you in good standing with the seller.

How Long Has the Property Been on the Market?

Find out if the house has been languishing on the market for some time, or if the seller has received considerable interest from potential buyers. This knowledge will be of value in gauging if you have negotiating room when making an offer.

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Can I Get the Home Inspected Before I Sign the Contract?

If you can get the home inspected before signing the contract, you aren’t obligated to buy if the property needs costly repairs. This downside is that it carries a risk that during the inspection, the seller could accept another offer before the inspection is finished. The solution is to have an inspection contingency in the contract that permits you to get out of the sale if the projected repairs exceed a certain limit.

When Can I Move In?

You’ll need to know this to schedule your moving plans. In most cases, you can move after escrow or closing, but an experienced agent can give you an accurate time frame.

 

Asking your agent questions is of utmost importance when buying a home. The answers can maximize your chances of buying a home that will offer you many years of enjoyment.

 

Learn more about the process of buying a home, or find an agent near you at coldwellbanker.com.

 

Sharon is the Manager of Product and Content Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She loves pun-ny jokes, true crime documentaries, podcasts and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day!

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9 Comments

  1. Monicq
    April 4, 2017

    Just checking

    Reply
  2. Ryan Donner
    April 6, 2017

    “What is the Minimum Offer the Seller Will Accept?” Another good approach to answer this question with buyers is to check the list to sales price of similar properties in the area.

    As an example, in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, the average sales price is about 8% off the asking price. In some other areas like in San Francisco, California, often times properties go for above the asking price.

    The only real way to know what the seller will accept is to review market trends and then write an offer.

    Ryan Donner
    Coldwell Banker La Costa
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    http://modsquadpv.com

    Reply
  3. Marcus Coons
    August 28, 2017

    I totally agree with you in that it is important to question your real estate agent about what they focus on before choosing them. My brother is planning on entering the market for a luxury home and wants to make sure he finds an agent that focuses on a house like this. It is important to remember that in order to find a reputable real estate agent in your area you first need to do some research and compare several of them so you can find someone that is qualified and experienced on the type of housing you are looking for.

    Reply
  4. Taylor Bishop
    September 22, 2017

    Thanks for going over some questions to ask a real estate agent when wanting to buy a home. I appreciate that you mentioned to ask about what the livability of a neighborhood is like. Maybe it could be beneficial to see the neighborhood in person, especially if it can help you gauge what the place is like. My sister has been thinking of buying a home recently, so this article could be helpful to her.

    Reply
  5. Marek Stachura
    September 28, 2017

    Very impressive article! You described very well each and every point in detail. It will definitely help many home buyers about what type of questions they need to ask from real estate agents before buying a home. Keep it up sharing more post.

    Reply
  6. Megan
    September 28, 2017

    My sister is considering buying a house. She may not be quite financially stable for it though. I am going to let her know to speak with the agent for the buy versus rent analysis.

    Reply
  7. Harper Campbell
    September 29, 2017

    It’s good to know that when it comes to buying a house that there are somethings that we need to keep in mind to help the process go smoothly. I like how you mentioned that we should see if we might be able to speak to the sellers to help us know more about the property. This is something that will be really helpful so that we will be able to narrow down which new home will be the right one for us.

    Reply
  8. Spencer Montgomery
    October 10, 2017

    I like how you suggested asking if the home can be inspected before you sign the contract. Making sure that you’re certain of what you’re buying makes for a great purchase. I’ll be sure to ask these questions when I buy a house. Thanks for sharing this informative post!

    Reply
  9. Jeremy Thompson
    October 19, 2017

    Thanks for sharing these queries to ask while interviewing a realtor. I love how you added the question: “Can I Get the Home Inspected Before I Sign the Contract?” I’d be sure to have an inspection contingency in the contract that permits me to get out of the sale if the projected repairs exceed a certain limit. Also, I’ll be sure to jot down your tips. My wife and I are going to look for a broker by next week. I’ll make use of these then.

    Reply

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