What to ask the agent when buying

Whether you’re just starting your property search or have found the perfect home that suits your needs, when it comes to purchasing a purchasing knowledge is power.

So what questions should you be asking the selling agent when a property piques your interest? Here’s what to ask when buying and why the answers reveal a wealth of information.

Why are the owners selling?

When you know why the owners are selling it gives you an insight into their circumstances and whether the price might be open to negotiation.

It also tells you how long they’re prepared to wait for a sale, and whether there might be sales conditions that could potentially suit their needs, such as a long contract.

How long has the property been on the market?

If you’re actively scouring listings in a specific area, there’s a good chance you have an awareness of which properties have been on the market and when they were listed.

But it also pays to ask the agent: How long has the property been on the market?

The answer offers a clue as to how negotiable the vendor is. If it’s a fresh listing, chances are there’s not much room for price movement. If it’s been sitting a while, they might be open to offers.

How much interest is there in the property?

This question is all about understanding how much competition there is for the property. If there’s a lot of interest and serious offers on the table, any offer you present will need to factor this in.

What have similar properties in the area sold for?

Similar properties which have recently sold in the area set the benchmark for the listing price, and it pays to know what’s been going on in the local market.

A good sales agent will offer this information, informing you of recent sales and how they compare to the property you’re interested in.  

How old is the property?

A property’s age reveals a whole host of information, including potential heritage restrictions, repairs that might need to be made, whether its construction is still under warranty, or materials that might have been used in its construction, such as asbestos.

Are there any issues with the property?

This is a very important question to ask any sales agent and it should be accompanied by your own due diligence, including a pest and building inspection.

Potential issues can be anything from termite damage to environmental covenants, structural defects, lack of council approvals and more.

What’s the neighbourhood like?

When an agent operates in a specific area they tend to know the neighbourhoods that surround properties well.

It’s worth picking their brains on what the area is like to live in, including demographics, infrastructure, amenities and more.

Are there infrastructure or development plans in the area I should be aware of?

On that note, buying a property involves buying into an area, so what are the current plans that might impact that area in the future?

Is there more planned infrastructure or developments that might impact the liveability and value of this property (positively or negatively) down the track.

Questions are just the beginning

The questions you ask of the agent when buying are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to research you should undertake before making the significant financial of a property.

Behind the scenes, you should also be actively doing your due diligence and, if possible, spending time in the area. You can read our guide on what to research here, along with our helpful hints on other things to consider when buying.

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