In my previous article for first home buyers I started this list of questions – and reasons to ask them, to make sure you are buying a great house for a good price. As I promised, this is the rest of them:
Questions about the house:
Ask: What is the size of the block?
Why: If the house is built on a bigger block of land, expect to pay more – even if you don’t need as much land. When I say “bigger”, I mean in that specific area you’re looking because obviously in different areas the average size varies. That would be a good moment to ask yourself – how much land do I need and am willing to pay for?
Check: What is the shape of the land?
Why: The rectangular shape is the most convenient and allows maximal usage of the land, whereas all the other shapes may create a situation where you pay for land that you can’t use.
Ask: Is the house built on a slope?
Why: If you are going to extend the house or even build a carport it becomes a more difficult and expensive project on a slope. The same applies to the garden, which would need retaining walls, etc.
Ask: Which direction is it facing?
Why: A north facing garden is considered to be the best.
Ask: What is the size of the bedrooms and of all living areas?
Why: Some people don’t mind small bedrooms, others do. The size of living areas will let you compare 2 houses, which is bigger and which is smaller.
Ask: Were there any pre-purchase inspections (building or pest) done, if so – what were the results?
Why: If they have found a major problem, the agent must tell you and it would save you the expense of having the house inspected yourself. Then you can either negotiate the price further down or just walk away from this house.
Questions about the vendor’s situation
Ask: What is the reason for sale?
Why: If the answer is honest you will understand more about the vendor’s situation. That will give you an idea how willing they will be to negotiate. For example if they must sell quickly – they might be willing to drop the price, etc.
Ask: What settlement (how much time they’ve got to move out) would the vendors prefer – 30, 60 or 90 days, how flexible are they?
Why: If you know what they want, it allows you to offer them more convenient terms and then if they like your offer better – you’ve got the house. The money is not the only thing that counts, the length of the settlement is also important.
Ask: How long was the property on the market?
Why: If the property was just listed, the vendors will be less flexible with the price. The longer the property is on the market, the more willing they are to compromise on the price.
Ask: Were there other offers that the vendor has rejected? How much?
Why: If the property is on the market for over a month and no offers were made, the vendor should be willing to negotiate and accept a lower offer than his asking price. If he rejected an offer of X it would mean than your offer should be definitely higher than that.
If, having asked these questions and digested the information, you still want to go and inspect that house – you surely won’t be wasting your time.
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