Around a week ago, I wrote about how some sellers may be wondering why their homes are not getting as much traffic as they thought they would and how the pictures, or lack of thereof, may contribute to buyers not wanting to even view the property.
Once a client visits a house, I am often surprised (as are my clients) when answers to what are considered basic questions can not be answered by the listing agents or the seller. Most listing agents will reply "I'll have to check" if they don't have the answer readily available and most will respond within a few hours after the showing.
However, after a few "I don't know - I'll have to check", the buyer's interest in the property starts to wane and then they begin to question if there is something wrong with the property because the agent doesn't know (and appears to not want to know) anything about the property or the seller has not given any information about the property to the listing agent. (Imagine going to a restaurant and asking some questions about the menu and the waitstaff not knowing anything about the ingredients, preparation, etc.)
As an exclusive buyer's agent, I work with my home buyer clients to help them identify and purchase homes that meet their needs. In order to help my clients evaluate a home, there are some general pieces of information that are typically requested by home buyers that are of great help in determining if home is worth pursuing.
Here are a few of the questions that are consistently asked by home buyers and their buyer agent:
How old is the roof, heating system, hot water heater, windows?
How old are the appliances? Are they staying?
Are the window treatments staying? Are there any exclusions of fixtures that are not included in the purchase price?
Where are the lot lines? Do you have a plot plan?
What are the average electrical / gas / water / oil bills? What does the homeowner insurance typically run? (these are particularly important for first-time buyers that are on a tight budget)
Has there ever been water in the basement during the time the seller has owned the property? If so, when and how much? Is there a sump pump?
If there has been recent renovation work - were building permits pulled and have all the permits been signed off on? Have all of the contractors / sub-contractors been paid-in-full?
If there is a pool - does the seller have a permit from the city / town for the pool?
If the home is on septic - do you have the Title V certificate? When was the last time it was pumped?
Although these questions are very basic, you would be surprised at how difficult it can be to get them answered. Having the information in advance and readily available to the listing agent and potential buyers can make the difference between a buyer feeling comfortable moving forward with an offer or moving onto the next house on the list.