Searching for your dream home can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. With so many factors to consider, gathering all the necessary information when viewing a property is crucial. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this handy guide outlining what questions to ask when considering a home, red flags to watch out for, how to negotiate effectively and how to find the perfect REALTOR® for your new home needs.
Let’s dive in!
Questions to Ask When Viewing a Home
By asking the right questions, you'll gain valuable insights into the property whether or not it will meet your wants and needs. Here are a few questions to ask to make a well-informed purchase.
How long has the property been on the market?
Knowing the length of time a property has been listed can provide valuable insights. If a property has been on the market for several weeks, it could indicate potential issues or that the home is overpriced. Conversely, a recently listed property might indicate high demand or offer negotiation opportunities.
What is the asking price and has it been reduced?
Understanding the asking price and any recent changes can help determine if the house is within your budget or if the seller is truly motivated to sell. It provides an opportunity to assess the property’s value in relation to Edmonton market trends and similar homes in the area.
Are there any pending or competing offers?
Asking about any pending offers allows you to gauge the level of competition. If there are other interested buyers involved, you should act quickly if you want to make an offer.
What major renovations or repairs have been done recently?
Knowing the history of renovations or repairs lets you understand the property’s condition and anticipate any upcoming maintenance costs. It also helps identify potential upgrades or improvements made by the seller.
How old are the major systems in the house?
Inquire about the age of critical systems such as the roof, HVAC systems, electrical wiring, plumbing, and appliances. Understanding their age can give you an idea of potential future expenses and whether replacements or repairs will be needed soon.
Has the property ever had any pests, mold, or water damage?
Discovering past or current issues related to pests, mold, or water damage is essential for protecting your investment. These problems can impact your safety, comfort, and financial well-being. Requesting information about any previous incidents will help you assess the property’s condition. Note: A qualified home inspector will be able to help you with this.
How are the neighbours and the community?
Gather information about the neighbourhood and community surrounding the home. Ask about noise levels, nearby amenities, and proximity to schools, shopping centers, parks, and public transportation. Understanding these aspects will give you a better sense of the overall suitability of the area.
What are the average utility costs?
Inquire about the average monthly utility costs and property tax to help you estimate ongoing expenses. This information can assist in budgeting and planning your future financial responsibilities.
Are there any pending or planned developments that could affect the property’s value?
Ask about the neighbourhood’s current or future development plans, such as new roads, commercial centres, or housing projects. These changes can impact the value and desirability of your potential home.
What is the reason for selling?
Understanding the seller’s motivation can provide valuable information for negotiation purposes. It can also give you insights into potential flexibility with the asking price or timeline.
What is the school district like?
If you have or plan to have children, inquiring about the quality of the local school district is key. It helps ensure that your children will receive the education they need and can affect the future resale value of the property. Homes are always valued higher when schools are close by.
What to Watch Out for When Viewing a Home
When viewing a potential new home, be sure to approach the process with a keen eye. By keeping these considerations in mind, you will be better equipped to make an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls.
Watch out for signs of foundation issues, such as cracks in the walls, sloping floors, or doors that do not align properly (i.e. hard to shut). Check for water damage or mold, as these issues can lead to costly repairs and affect your health. Additionally, examine the roof for any signs of leakage or damage. Remember, structural problems can be expensive and time-consuming to fix, so be sure to hire a home inspector who will everything thoroughly.
Electrical and Plumbing Systems
Home buyers should also pay close attention to the electrical and plumbing systems. Check if the lights, outlets, and appliances are working correctly, and inquire about the age and condition of the electrical wiring. Additionally, check the water pressure, check for leaks, and ask about the age of the plumbing system. Faulty or outdated electrical and plumbing systems can lead to expensive updates, so gather as much information as possible.
A well-functioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is imperative for comfort and energy efficiency. During the home viewing, examine the system and inquire about its age, maintenance history, and energy efficiency. Listen for any unusual noises and ask when it was last serviced or inspected.
Watch out for features that can impact a home’s efficiency, such as insulation, windows, and appliances. Inquire about the insulation’s type and age, as inadequate insulation can lead to high energy bills and reduced comfort. Additionally, assess the windows for drafts or signs of aging. Energy-efficient appliances, such as ENERGY STAR-rated models, can also save you money in the long run, benefiting both your bank account and the environment.
Neighbourhood and Surroundings
A home’s location goes hand in hand with its value and your lifestyle. When viewing a property, pay attention to the neighbourhood and its amenities. Consider proximity to schools, parks, shopping centres, and major transportation. Observe the noise levels and the condition of surrounding properties, research crime rates and speak with potential neighbours to gain insights into the community. Remember, where you live will influence your quality of life, so take the time to really get to know the area.
While it’s essential to assess the current state of a home, also consider its future potential. Evaluate the layout and room sizes to ensure they suit your needs. Think about possible renovation or expansion opportunities if you desire additional space down the line. Consider the lot size and landscaping possibilities, as outdoor areas can add significant value. Investing in a property with future potential can be a wise decision but be sure to balance it with your current needs and budget.
Tips for Choosing the Right Edmonton REALTOR®
Buying a home can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Here are some valuable tips to help you choose the right Edmonton REALTOR® for your home buying journey.
Research and Referrals - Conduct thorough research and seek referrals from trusted sources when searching for a REALTOR®. Ask your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbours if they can recommend an agent they have had a positive experience with. Also, check online platforms like real estate websites and social media to read reviews and ratings from previous clients.
Experience and Expertise - One of the most critical factors to consider is the REALTOR®’s experience and expertise in the Edmonton market. A seasoned agent understands market trends, pricing, and Edmonton neighbourhood preferences. Look for an Edmonton REALTOR® who has been in the business for several years and has a successful track record of helping buyers find their dream homes.
Communication and Compatibility - Effective communication is everything during the home buying process. Ensure that your chosen REALTOR® is a skilled listener who understands your preferences, needs, and budget. Your real estate agent should promptly respond to your inquiries and keep you informed at each stage of the buying process. Compatibility will also make the experience smoother and more enjoyable.
Local Market Knowledge – As mentioned above, your prospective REALTOR® should possess a detailed understanding of Edmonton market dynamics. They should be able to provide valuable insights on current market conditions, upcoming developments, school districts, amenities, and more. A REALTOR® who is well-versed in all Edmonton communities will be able to guide you better and help you make informed decisions.
Professionalism and Integrity - Honesty and integrity are fundamental traits of a reliable Edmonton REALTOR®. Look for someone who demonstrates transparent behaviour throughout the buying process, such as providing accurate information, disclosing potential risks, and acting in your best interests.
Flexibility and Availability - Buying a home often involves multiple viewings, negotiations, and paperwork, all of which require the active involvement of your REALTOR®. Choose an agent who is readily available, flexible, and willing to accommodate your schedule and who the urgency of your needs.
Solid Marketing Abilities - In today’s digital world, advanced technology plays an important role in the home buying process. A tech-savvy REALTOR® will utilize the latest tools and platforms to enhance your experience. Look for an expert who leverages digital marketing and online platforms to provide a seamless buying journey.
Professional Network - A well-connected Edmonton REALTOR® can provide you with access to a vast network of professionals, including mortgage brokers, home inspectors, contractors, and lawyers. These connections can simplify the buying process and offer valuable recommendations for additional services you may require.
Tips for Dealing with Home Sellers
The ability to negotiate effectively can save you thousands of dollars and ensures a smooth transaction. Here too, a qualified real estate agent can help you.
Do Your Homework
Before entering into negotiations, do your homework and research the property, its market value, and recent sale prices in the area. This information will give you a realistic idea of what you should be aiming for during negotiations. Take note of any unique selling points or potential flaws in the property that may affect its value.
Understand the Seller’s Motivation
Understanding the seller’s motivation can give you an advantage during negotiations. Find out if they are in a hurry to sell or if there are any specific circumstances that may influence their decision. For example, sellers relocating, downsizing, or facing financial constraints may be more willing to negotiate on price or other terms. Adjusting your offer to align with their needs will increase your chances of success.
Start with a Strong Offer
In some cases, starting with a strong offer can set a positive tone for negotiations. A strong offer signals your seriousness and can potentially discourage competing buyers. Consider offering a fair and attractive price based on your market research. If the property is in high demand, offering slightly above the asking price may strengthen your position.
Identify Key Negotiables
Price is not the only negotiable factor in a real estate transaction. There are often other terms that can be negotiated to your advantage. Identify key negotiables such as the closing date, repairs or renovations and appliances. Being flexible and understanding the seller’s priorities can help you structure a great deal.
Stay Emotionally Detached
Letting emotions drive your decisions affects your judgment and hinders your negotiating ability. Maintain an objective approach throughout the process and remember, negotiations are a business transaction, and the goal is to find mutual ground.
Effective communication is essential when negotiating with home sellers. Clearly express your expectations, concerns, and requirements to the seller. Actively listen to their perspective and be respectful during discussions. Providing rationale and justifying your offer with supporting data can strengthen your position and demonstrate your seriousness.
Be Prepared to Compromise
Negotiations often require compromise from both sides. While you should approach negotiations with an open mind and be prepared to make concessions, take care to identify your non-negotiables and areas where you can be flexible. By finding common ground, you can build rapport and increase the likelihood of reaching a successful sale.
Contact the Terry Paranych Real Estate Group to schedule a FREE home evaluation. Our proven 24/7 home selling system will not only help you determine what your home is TRULY worth based on today's market conditions, but also sell your home quickly and for the most money possible!
Not sure if you’re ready to sell? No problem! We can simply suggest ways to improve your home’s value until you feel confident about hitting the market.
Photo credits: shutterstock.comPosted by Terry Paranych on