Strolling through homes is the fun part, so much so that we often loose track of our purpose:
Take a notebook.
Record the address, price, number of bedrooms and baths plus your impressions. If not working with a real estate agent record the owner’s phone number.
If you love the house:
Think ahead to the negotiations.Strangle your emotions!
Don’t let the Seller know you would “die” to have her kitchen.
Ask the Seller for his reasons for selling. …is he under pressure to sell quickly?
Does the Seller have any “soft spots?”
would she prefer selling to someone who will care for her rose garden ?
Don’t forget the basics…
look for the following problems and make notes:
Turn on faucets on the top floor. Make sure water flow is adequate.
Heating and Air:
If summer, is it cool on the top floor? If winter, is it warm on the ground floor?
water stains on ceilings, damp basement walls or musty odors are all signs of possible water damage.
in plaster walls might mean nothing, but all cracks should be investigated by a professional, especially cracks around fireplaces or in foundation walls.
floors that are not level could mean the house is sinking. It might have done all its settling in the first year and has been stable since, but have it checked
Look for light coming in, around, and under exterior doors.
These might need insulation or refitting.
Alignment: Doors not perfectly vertical. If you can see more space between a door and its frame at one end than at the other, the door is installed improperly and will eventually stick or fail to lock.
Sticky doors & windows: Hard to open windows are not a serious problem, but it’s a good negotiation point. Ask for a few hundred dollars off the price or some other concession from the seller.
Tilted stairways: Like uneven floors, tilted stairways indicate movement in the foundation. Make a note and discuss with your inspector.
Control your emotions!
Excited oohs and aahs tell the Seller you will buy her house at any price. Never say the following within hearing distance of the Seller”this is the best house we’ve seen at this price…” “we can easily afford this..” “…this house needs no work..” Any of the above statements leaves the Buyer at a disadvantage during negotiations Return to top
Reasons for selling
Knowing the Seller’s reasons for selling can often give the Buyer an advantage in negotiations Try the following approaches”This is such a nice house and a nice neighborhood how can you bring yourself to sell?” “Have you already bought another house ?” Don’t give up after the first try. Be diplomatic, but persistent “What is your deadline for completing the sale?” You want to find out if the Seller is under any pressure to sell (and thus less likely to quibble about price).
Seller’s Soft Spots
Many Sellers invest huge amounts of energy in maintaining and improving their homes, and some become emotionally attached to their improvements.
“Soft spot” examples
The Seller who prefers to take a $1,000 less rather than sell to someone who will mow down the garden she nourished for years. After laboring to restore the woodwork to its natural beauty, one Seller gasped at selling to someone who promised to paint every surface. Knowing these “Soft spots” can be an advantage during negotiations. Be observant ! Search for home buying advice HOME BUYING GUIDE: FREE
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