1. Why is this house for sale?
This simple question may provide useful insight when writing your offer. It may win you the house over the other bidders.
An example is with sellers who prefer to sell to co-buyers and first-time homeowners instead of investors: they have cherished the house and want to pass it on to good hands.
If the answer you get is evasive, ask more questions to different people.
A new freeway close by your new house certainly stays and affects its value for decades; Positive or negative? it depends on your needs and wants.
2. Where is the seller’s disclosure?
Many disclosure packets from listing agents are over 200 pages with different items: from inspector reports to real estate agents’ and seller’s disclosures. Do you know which items to read more than one time?
One of them is the seller’s disclosure: even if you fall in love with a house, you should be aware of all its flaws. No house is perfect. The seller is required by law to let you know in this form what is not working or substandard.
Out of hundreds of pages, those 2 to 3 pages are the “must read” for any buyer and co-buyers.
We recommend that you, as co-buyers, divide the reading work to make sure you cover all the disclosures. Flag areas of concern or questions to your co-buyer and take further actions before you make the final decision to buy.
3. What is the neighborhood’s crime rate?
Even though this information is available online, it may be outdated or inaccurate. How does an app know about the neighbors who just move in next door? Drive or walk around the neighborhood at night, during weekdays and weekends; talk to people who work or shop at local supermarkets; you get the idea. Remember, neighborhood character is one thing no one can change easily, including you.
Even as co-buyers, you should take safety as seriously as somebody living there alone. Your next buyer might.
4. What home inspections are available?
Get the main types of inspections such as foundation and roof to avoid costly problems down the road. Some sellers provide you as co-buyers inspection reports from companies they hire so they are free to you.
Is it worth your money to hire your own inspector to check on a few problematic areas? Yes, we recommend you spend a few hundreds to avoid thousands in the future, after you move in as co-buyers.
Your own inspector will warn you about the warped, cracking sidewalk at the base and the small leaks in the basement as an example.
This 58-story luxury condo building in San Francisco was settling and tilting. There are signs in the basement and cracks in the building interior that signaled that something was amiss, months or years before it hits the news last August 2016.
5. Are there many kids and/or dogs in the neighborhood?
This will either be a plus or a minus, depending on your lifestyle and desires. Again, this is something that will not change overnight.
Anything else we have not mentioned that you have experienced yourself? Write us and let us know!