Questions clients need to ask home sellers

Imagine you move into the house and realise you don’t know were the location of the electricity circuit box or the pumping machine?Imagine your bathroom got flooded because you do not know where the water shut-off valve is located? The reality is you will be surprised by how many of these unfortunate surprises home buyers could have prevented merely by asking the person who sold them the home some pointed questions before moving in but truth be told, there’s nothing better than hearing about a home straight from someone who’s been living there for years. So make sure you ask the seller questions.However, just keep in mind that some sellers might feel tight-lipped if they think your questions might jeopardize the sale. 

The  questions include:

Are there any special attributes about the house?

Inspection helps you to point out any odd or unsafe features in the house, but the reality is only someone who has lived there will have an idea on all the unique characteristics worth mentioning like switches in unexpected places, doors and windows that stick up or down.

In addition, a buyer might ask, the seller that “I’m wondering if you can tell me anything I might need to anticipate about the house moving forward?”. Be very observant, subtle but persistent with your questions.


Have you had any major challenges with the house in the past that you had to fix?

Often times, sellers are often required to disclose most existing problems or issues related to the home. But what about past problems that have since been repaired?

You can ask the question by saying:“I’ve read the disclosure statement. Is there anything else that has happened or that you’ve done with the house that would be helpful to know?”

What do you enjoy most about living in your home?

This question might put the seller on the spot, but it can get the seller talking about the home, neighbourhood and community. You might learn something positive about the home or area that you might not have known otherwise – the tight-knit community, the friendly neighbors, the short walk to the library, the way the sun shines through the living-room windows in the afternoon, the low heating bills or the wildflowers that grow in the summer on the hill behind the house.


Where are the water shut-off valve, water pumping machine and circuit box?

Some home inspector will show you all of these things and point them out to the new buyer as part of educating them about their new house but not all inspectors do that, so these are important questions to ask for safety measures.

Ensure you ask the seller to show you how to operate these valves, switches, and pumps because their operations may be different and rather than fumble around blindly with the pump or switch;  you can ask the seller.


How is the neighbourhood?

The truth is that talking conversationally reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly than when you become overly serious with the seller who in turn will have his guard up and not reveal important information.  You might simply ask the seller, “Tell me about the neighbourhood.”If you are new to the area, ask the seller for directions to the market, hospital or banks.


What is included in the sale?

Anything that is permanently attached to the home like cabinets or window blinds is considered a “fixture” and may be included in a home sale depending on the agreement. However, to avoid disappointment, ask what is included in the sale and ensure it is included in the contract.

The keynote is to approach the questions in a friendly manner in order to encourage the seller to open up to you about the house.Kindly share your experience with other ToLet readers.

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