Questions Buyers Don’t Ask (but Should)

by Sue Haynes

The Seller’s Property Disclosure and the Home Inspection can tell you a lot
about the property you are considering, but they won’t tell you everything.
Buyers are sometimes too shy or too polite to ask the hard questions. No
problem. Let your real estate agent ask for you.

I suggest putting the questions you want answered in writing for your agent
to submit to the Seller’s agent. Your agent can suggest that the Seller
answer your questions in an email directly back to the Seller’s agent. That
way you have a written copy of the answers. If those answers would serve
to clarify the Seller’s Property Disclosure in a meaning way, then by all
means request that the Seller formally update the Disclosure so that it is a
legal part of a subsequent Agreement that might be negotiated.

Below are a few examples…

About the HVAC system:

  • When was the last time the HVAC was serviced?
  • Is the system(s) under a routine servicing contract with a licensed vendor? If so, what vendor?
  • How often have the HVAC filters been replaced?
  • Have the air ducts ever been cleaned professionally? If so, by whom? (This is especially important if the Seller has pets or is an inside smoker.)

About the utilities:

  • Who provides Cable/Internet services in this location?
  • How well does your cellular service work inside the house?
  • Who is your carrier?
  • Is the neighborhood served by fiber?
  • Would you please supply copies of all the utility bills for the most recent 3 months of hot weather as well as the most recent 3 months of cold weather?

About the dearly departed:

  • Are you aware of anyone ever dying in this home? 
  • Are there pets buried in the yard? Where are they buried?
  • And while we’re on the subject… do the next-door neighbors have pets?
  • What kind? Do those neighbors manage them well?

Other miscellaneous questions:

  • Do you have a copy of a survey? 
  • Do you use a pest control (not termites) company? Who? Cost?
  • Who do you use for a lawn service? What is the cost?
  • In your opinion, how well is your HOA run?
  • What do you like best about your house?