When you’re buying a house, you probably have a lot of questions about the buying process. There are so many questions to be answered. What are all the steps to buying a home? What about closing costs? But, when you find the house you like, there are questions you should ask the seller. Let’s discuss some of the questions to ask a seller when buying a house.
A few key questions to ask a seller
- Why are you selling?
- How much did you pay for the house?
- What’s included in the sale?
- Is there anything I should know about the house?
- How are the neighbors and schools?
- How much do you pay for utilities and taxes?
Why are you selling?
This is probably the most important question to ask. It’s an open-ended question and allows you to find out more about the house and how urgently the seller needs to sell their house. They may have a job offer, want to downsize or upgrade, or they could just want to relocate for personal reasons. Either way, this question will open up a conversation and provide you and your realtor with information you can use when negotiating.
How much did you pay for the house?
Your New Mexico realtor should be able to answer this question, but you can also ask the seller. Find out how much the seller paid for the house and also how long it’s been on the market. This will give you an idea of how much they might owe on the mortgage. It will also give you information on how much the home has gone up in value. Right now it’s a great time to buy a home in New Mexico, but it’s helpful to know you are choosing a home in an area that has increased in value.
What is included in the sale?
Before you can make an offer, you need to know what is included in the sale. Are all the appliances staying? What about window treatments or fixtures? Is there anything you’d like to stay in the home? Sometimes a seller will include items like deep freezers, pool tables, or window unit air conditioners in the sale. Find out what is staying and what the seller plans to take.
How are the neighbors?
Are you going to like living in this neighborhood? A home seller will usually tell you a little bit about their neighbors. You can get an idea of what the neighborhood is like by asking. If they are evasive or don’t have much to say, it could be that they just don’t know their neighbors. But, they may tell you things like who has children your kids age, or who is friendly or annoying. Either way, opening up the discussion will usually reveal more about the neighborhood.
How are the schools?
If the seller doesn’t have children in school, they may not be able to answer this. But, most sellers can tell you a little about the school district you are zoned for. Your realtor should be able to help you with this as well. You may know what school district your want your house to be in, but the seller can often tell you more about the schools in the area.
Have you made any improvements or repairs?
Sellers are required to disclose any repairs or issues when they sell a house. For example, if the roof was repaired, this is something you want to know before you buy the house. Of course, you should have a home inspection, but ask questions first. If you notice any obvious issues like water stains, or cracks indicating structural issues, ask the seller directly about this.
How old is the HVAC system?
Take a look at the furnace and air conditioner. Ask the seller how old it is and if they’ve had any issues with it. It’s not unusual for a home to have an older furnace or not include central air. But, before you make your offer you should know if the furnace might need to be replaced. Also, ask about the water heater. Make sure to ask as many questions as you can. When you have the house inspected, your home inspector can review any issues you are concerned about.
How old is the roof?
This should be revealed during a home inspection, but asking ahead of time will help you decide if you even want to make an offer or have it inspected. Find out what kind of roof it is and how old it is. Have there been any repairs to it? You don’t want to have any surprises. How much do you spend on utilities?
How much do you spend on utilities?
This is the time to find out about how expensive the house will be to live in. Ask for their average utility bills for electricity, natural gas, or water. You can also find out which utility companies they use. In addition, think about other services like trash service or any other service you might need.
How much are property taxes?
When you set up your mortgage, your taxes and insurance are usually included as part of the mortgage. Insurance rates can vary depending on how much coverage you have and which carrier you use, but taxes should be similar as long as the property value doesn’t change. Find out how much they pay in property taxes. Keep in mind, if you are paying substantially more for the house than it is currently valued at, the taxes may be higher.
How are the cell phone and internet services?
Some areas have a limited selection when it comes to cell phone reception and internet service providers. Depending on where you move, and what type of job you have, cell phone reception and internet service could be an important factors. Try making a call from the area to test the reception. Ask the seller about the providers in the area. It’s better to ask now than to move in and realize your carrier doesn’t service this area well.
Before you make a decision on buying a house, talk to your realtor. There are a lot of homes for sale in New Mexico. You want to choose the one that is right for you and your family. If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, talk to the Bigelow team of experienced New Mexico realtors. We can assist you in every step of the process.