3 Important Questions to Ask the Seller When Buying a Home

This just in: buying a house is a big deal. For many of us, it’s the single largest purchase we’ll ever make, and unless you’re buying a brand-new home, you’re necessarily buying a structure with substantial history.

While your real estate agent or REALTOR will likely serve as your guide and help keep track of all the (sometimes overwhelming) details, there are a few questions it’s really best to ask the home seller directly, if you can — or at least have your agent ask theirs. Along with getting the most direct answers, these questions can also provide additional insight: although we all want to assume the best of the people around us, you may get a sense of their trustworthiness and the soundness of the home based on how completely (or not) they respond.

Without further ado, here are a few of the best questions to ask the seller during the home buying process.

Why are you selling the house?

While there are all sorts of reasons someone might want to sell a house, the answer in this case can give you a lot of information. Maybe they’re just looking to upgrade to make space for a growing family. But maybe the area school district is falling behind or local market values are dropping — or maybe the owners weathered a severe hurricane last year and don’t want to go through it again.

Of course, you may not get all the nitty gritty details of why the owners really want to sell. But even if the seller’s not entirely upfront, you still stand to learn exactly how motivated they are to be rid of the home — and if they’re eager, you may be able to make a lower offer and still stand a chance of success.

What’s been repaired — and what’s due?

While a lot of this information will come out in the home inspection, it’s nice to get ahead of it a bit — or at least to try — by asking the seller. When’s the last time the water heater was maintenanced? The HVAC system? These can be expensive replacements to make right after putting in a down payment.

Furthermore, asking for a C.L.U.E., or comprehensive loss underwriting exchange, report gives you the details on any homeowners insurance claims filed over the past seven years. Only the homeowner can request this report, and they’re not always obligated to do so, but if you can get your hands on it, you may learn about major potential issues that even a home inspector might miss. 

Additionally, ask the homeowner about any major renovations or additions that may have been constructed during their occupancy. Although this information is supposed to be current in the public records, some owners may have done the construction themselves — and not kept that construction up to code, which means you’d be on the hook for expensive adjustments.

What’s included in the sale?

While you can generally count on attached light fixtures, cabinets and faucets, major appliances like washers are another story — and knowing what’s included with the sale can help you more accurately budget for what you’ll need to purchase if the home sale goes through. After all, you’re also going to be on the hook for closing costs, property taxes, and any major repairs that crop up — the asking price is truly just the beginning when it comes to the cost of homeownership.

And if there are large, hard-to-move items in the home that you’re interested in keeping — like, say, a piano — the seller may be willing to include them, but you have to ask to find out.

As complicated as home shopping can be, mortgage shopping can feel just as intricate; there are many different types of home loan programs to choose from, not to mention lenders to work with.

Quontic offers a wide range of mortgage products suited for a variety of different buyers, including both first-time home buyers and those looking to refinance existing real estate. Along with FHA loans, VA loans and conventional loans, we also offer Community Development Loans, or CDLs, which are specifically designed for non-traditional borrowers (such as small business owners, foreign nationals, and independent contractors).

We’d love to walk you through the options — so contact one of our mortgage specialists today.

Quontic Bank is not affiliated with or acting on behalf of or at the direction of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or any government agency or government sponsored entity. All lending products are subject to approval. Rates, program terms & conditions are subject to change without notice. Not all products are available in all states or for all amounts. This does not represent an offer to enter into a loan agreement. Other requirements, restrictions & limitations apply. Information is accurate as of December 30, 2021 & is subject to change without notice.

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