Buying a home is such a significant decision, you need as much information as you can get while trying to make a smart choice. You're going to have lots of questions and lots of people with answers. But, when you talk to the owner, you're going to be able to get first-hand information. And here are some of the most important questions you should ask before making a decision to make an offer on a home.  

"Why are you selling?" It's an obvious question, but one that can provide you with valuable information. And it might be different from what the seller's agent might say.  

"How much did you pay?" Again, you might already have this information from a different source. But, asking the owner is always worth doing. You can learn a lot about your negotiating position by asking the question.  

"Are there any problems with the house?" You'll already have a lot of information related to this question from your own agent, but once again, asking cannot hurt. And don't just ask the owner or owner's agent. Ask a qualified inspector that question: Their answer is going to be vital to any decision you make on the house.  

"What can you tell me about the neighborhood?" If you're going to live there for any amount of time, you may want to know before you buy if there are annoying neighbors or other problems.  

"And what about the local schools?" If you have school age children, make sure to ask about local schools. Even if the owner doesn't have kids in the system, its worth adding to the impressions you've gotten from other sources.  

There are obviously other questions you might want to ask, and you should feel free to do so. Remember, it's your money. It should go without saying that when talking to an owner, you should go out of your way to be polite. If they're uncomfortable or unwilling to talk, you won't get better answers by pushing them. If the discussion raises concerns in your mind, talk with your own agent.  

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
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