What Questions Should I Ask The Agent At An Inspection?

It could make the difference between buying your dream home, and a nightmare fiasco. Some people liken buying a property to playing poker… there’s some bluffing, huge incentives along with some inconvenient situations.

An Estate Agent may not always willingly ‘spill the beans’ about every nook and cranny in the property, but as long as you ask the right questions; they’re obliged to answer them truthfully.

What’s the condition of the property?

Yes, this is a broad question. So come armed with your list of detailed points you need to know about. E.g. What condition are the fixtures in? Is the hot water system new/old? When was the property last painted? Is the property separately metered for water? These a really important questions, as you don’t want to be faced with unexpected maintenance costs.

Does the property have any easements?

By asking this, you should find out what sort of building leeway you have on the property. Also ask if there are any limitations such as underground utilities/services and easements on the block. This will hopefully answer some queries you have about future renovations, pool installments or garage possibilities.

Why are the current owners selling?

You must ask this question, it reveals a lot about the owners motives and how you may be able to use this to your advantage. Such as, if they need a quick sale, you may be in a better position than other potential buyers to sign the deal in a shorter space of time; opening up the possibility to offer a little under the selling price.

Are all of the additions approved?

Any renovations/additions you see during your viewing – take note. These all need to be certified, the reason being if they’re not, then they can't be insured.

What are the comparable sales in the area?

Confirm any data you’ve collected about the surrounding area with your estate agent. Sometimes the data can be 3 months or more out of date. This way you can asses the current asking price of the property under scrutiny..

How long has the current owner held the property for?

Remember, 7-10 years is an average turnover for a property. Double check if the property has been sold several times in a shorter time frame, as this could be a sign of underlying problems somewhere. Most of the time these problems evolve around property problems, or neighbour/hood problems.

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What is the lowest price that will be accepted?

Get the agent talking! The more your can find out about the seller and their situation, the better armed for negotiations you are. Yes, it is a risky question but what you can gain from it will be invaluable.

Could you clarify the proposed contract and settlement terms?

Make sure you seek the clarification needed, to confirm the proposed contract and settlement terms, along with the price the vendor is realistically willing to accept. 

What costs are associated with owning the property?

Remember, as we mentioned earlier that sometimes, the agent won’t always ‘give the game away’ about the whole property. So, make sure you investigate any other expenses such as costs of the body corporate, cost of the rates, land tax and any other possible levies. Look out for potential repairs, and be very specific with your questions. It’s what the agent doesn’t tell you that you’ll need to worry about.

How did you price this house?

This way you can find out the comparables with other properties in the area, and also the justifications the estate agent made for the valuation. It’s another way to make sure you won’t be inheriting the seller’s problems too.

The number one thing you want to make sure you don’t do is pay over the odds. By doing your research in and around the area as well as the property, you may just unearth some vital decision making factors. A second opinion may also be worth considering. 

Happy House Hunting!