Six Questions for Buyers to Ask The Seller

I came upon a nice blog by Tara-Nicholle Nelson, posted today on Trulia. I have included the link at the bottom of this blog for anyone who wants to read the full version. Here is quick summary of the article, with some of my own opinions added. Remember, these questions should be directed to your buyer’s agent and not to the seller. I like to use email to document all questions and responses.
1. What’s the history of the house? Sure the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure form will tell you what items or systems have been repaired, but you may want to go deeper. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about anything you see around the house, anything that comes up in an inspection, or anything you are just curious about. Don’t be afraid to request everything from names of paint colors, to warranties, receipts and instruction manuals for appliances.
2. Where to go and who to know? Home sellers can be the best source of infomation that doesn’t seem super important, but can actually take a long time to figure out yourself, like who is the best handyman, which plumber they have been using, or which neighbor organizes the Neighborhood Watch or the pug playgroups. I like to request a list of the subcontractors for new construction.
3. What surprised them when they moved in? Pleasantly or otherwise – moving in is always the occasion for a surprise (or a dozen!). They might have been surprised at how friendly the neighbors were, how much light a particular room gets at a given time of day, how many people could fit around the table in the dining room at Thanksgiving or how noisy/quiet the school across the street is. If they were surprised, you might be, too – so it’s great to know what shocked them before you move in.
4. Where is it and how does it work? Where do you take the trash out to, and on what day of the week? Where are the emergency water and electrical shutoffs, the breaker box and the utility meters? Where’s the thermostat or the special wrench that turns on the gas fireplace? How does that work? Some of these are things a good home inspector will cover, but if yours didn’t or you weren’t able to make the inspection, some kind home sellers will happily brief you on these items. If possible, I like to arrange a meeting for the seller to show the buyer the home’s systems just prior to closing.
5. Is there anything you’d like to leave? There are really two flavors of this question. First, you might have your eye on some item of the seller’s personal property, like a perfectly-sized print or perfectly-shaped breakfast booth, that you’d like to buy from them – if so, make an offer! Many Park City second home owners will have no use for some of these items and will sell at a deep discount or leave them behind.
6. What did I forget to ask? Whether you’re a new homeowner or new to the area, this is where you throw yourself on the seller’s mercy and ask them to tell you anything you might have forgotten to ask. Sometimes the sellers will provide the buyers their contact information so the buyers can ask questions that may come up after they move in.
Despite the fact that real estate transactions can get adversarial, most sellers want the buyer of their home to be happy and are generally willing to help.
Link to the full article: http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2011/06/6_questions_to_ask_your_home_s_seller_before_moving_in?ecampaign=cnews201106E&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Ftaranelson%2F2011%2F06%2F6_questions_to_ask_your_home_s_seller_before_moving_in

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