Home Property 9 crucial questions to ask the estate agent when viewing a home

9 crucial questions to ask the estate agent when viewing a home

by Tania Griffin
male real estate agent doing business showing house potential buying couple

Buying a home is an exciting time, as you are purchasing the place in which you and your family will spend the foreseeable future, but it’s important to ensure it’s also a sound investment – and the best way to make an informed decision is to ask the right questions when viewing a potential property.

“It’s not uncommon for emotions to run high when looking for the perfect property to call home, so it’s vital to approach the process with a clear and level-headed mindset and to balance enthusiasm with a pragmatic approach,” says Arnold Maritz, co-principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.

“Decisions based largely on emotion often lead to regret and financial strain down the line, so asking pertinent questions during a home viewing is not just a formality; it’s a strategic approach to home buying. The information you gather empowers you to make decisions aligned not only with your preferences but also your budget and long-term goals.”

Maritz says that by asking the following questions, buyers will be better able to make an informed decision and a sound investment:

What is the property’s history?

Ask about previous owners, renovations and any significant events that might have occurred. This insight will provide a better understanding of the property’s condition and potential future maintenance needs.

How long has the property been on the market?

The duration a property has been on the market can reveal a lot about its desirability and potential issues. If a property has been listed for an extended period, it’s worth investigating why. It could be due to pricing, condition or other factors that may affect your decision.

What comparable properties have sold recently in the area?

Knowing the prices of recently sold properties in the same neighbourhood helps you gauge the property’s market value and active price bands in the area. This comparative analysis ensures you’re making a competitive and informed offer based on the current market conditions.

Are there any planned developments in the area?

Inquiring about future developments in the vicinity is vital. Ask about any upcoming projects, infrastructure changes or zoning plans that may impact the property’s value and your living experience.

What’s the neighbourhood like?

Understanding the neighbourhood is as important as knowing about the property itself. Inquire about the local amenities, schools, safety and community atmosphere. A home is not just a physical space; it’s also about the lifestyle the surrounding area offers.

How is the property priced compared to similar listings?

Comparative pricing is crucial. Your estate agent should be able to provide insights into how the property’s price compares to similar listings in the area. This information helps you determine whether the asking price is reasonable or if there’s room for negotiation.

What’s included in the sale?

Don’t assume that everything you see during the viewing will come with the property. Ask the estate agent for a detailed list of what is included in the sale so that you have a clear understanding of what you’ll be getting when you purchase the property and avoid surprises later on. This could range from appliances to custom fixtures.

What’s the reason for selling?

Understanding the seller’s motivation can be valuable information. If the owner is relocating for work or downsizing, it may indicate a quicker and more straightforward transaction. Conversely, a rushed or distress sale may raise red flags.

What are the running costs of the property?

Beyond the purchase price, inquire about ongoing costs such as property taxes, utility expenses and any homeowner’s association fees. Understanding the full financial picture helps you make a well-informed decision.

“A thorough understanding of the property and its surroundings ensures your dream home is not just a fantasy but a well-informed and practical investment for your future,” says Maritz. “And arming yourself with the right questions is crucial for making an informed decision and making your home-buying journey a rewarding and memorable experience.”

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