The expertise and experience a realtor can provide is priceless, but a potential homebuyer should be prepared to broach a number of topics with their realtor. Questions to touch on with a realtor when searching for a new home can be varied, vague, or specific, but should always be asked with the clear intent of seeking the right answer for the buyer’s situation. Every buyer has different criteria they wish to meet when searching for a new home. The realtor is their best resource in finding the information they need to make the crucial decision of which home is the best for them and their family.
Location is perhaps the most important topic to discuss with a realtor. Make clear the type of area that is being sought. Decide whether a rural, suburban, or urban area is best to meet the needs of everyone. Keep in mind that situations may change over time, so moving close to a job that is impermanent, or living in an urban area when the need for more land may come into play in later on would not be wise choices.
Have a frank discussion about the price range of the homes. Crunch the numbers and determine how much money can be spent, how large a monthly mortgage payment can be made, and if a house can still be afforded when other bills are factored into the equation. Make it clear to the realtor that houses outside the budget will not be considered.
For a couple starting out, a small house may be an ideal choice if they don’t mind house hunting again if they choose to expand their family. However, families should always discuss possible house sizes with their realtor. Consider the number of children, possible guests, the possibility of a parent moving in as they age, the arrival of more children, or the need for spare rooms.
A neighborhood can mean a lot to a buyer, and the realtor should be made aware of what the buyer wants. Neighborhoods with children, a neighborhood devoted to retirees, or a more rural, spaced apart road are among the options a buyer should consider. Also, determine what is needed close by like grocery stores, schools, pharmacies, and parks.
Fees and Taxes
Discuss any views had about Home Owners’ Association fees required in some neighborhoods. A realtor should be aware of any fees and how often they are due. Taxes for the home should also be discussed. This can be a financial issue later for an owner who has not considered the implications of a high tax cost.
Current Owner Information
Information about the owner should be readily available through the realtor. Ask to be informed about the seller’s motivation, the upkeep of the home, and how quickly the seller is seeking to close on the house. It should be a warning that the realtor is unprofessional if they gossip about the seller with a potential buyer.
History of the House
If a house has had more than one owner or a single owner for many years, it would be prudent to uncover what additions, repairs, and problems have been encountered with this property in the past and what was done to fix the issues.
Utilities and Maintenance
The type of utilities in a home should be straightforward. A septic tank, gas or electric, and city water or a well may be factors in a buyer’s decision. A realtor should be aware if there is a preference.
Making an Offer
Some sellers request that a potential buyer be pre-qualified for a mortgage before they will consider an offer from the bidder. A realtor should inform the buyer of any such stipulations in advance of this possibility.
Be sure to ask the realtor for any further information they feel is necessary to share about a home, policies, or legalities. This is also the perfect opening to ask a realtor for advice or personal experience about their own house hunting.