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Just like preparing for a job interview, it's always best to come with questions to an open house inspection. We've put together five questions you can ask a real estate agent to give you a better understanding of the property for sale.

1. Why is the owner selling?

There are a variety of reasons why someone might be selling their house. The owners might be outgrowing their existing home, downsizing or wanting to be closer to work or family.

Sometimes, there are other underlying reasons which could be a potential red flag for you; for example, there may be a large development on the cards which could block your scenic views, or the owners had trouble getting along with the neighbours.

You might not always get a completely honest answer because at the end of the day they want to sell, but you have nothing to lose by asking, right?

2. How long has the property been on the market?

Knowing how long a property has been on the market might give you better bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a price. If a house has been on the market for a long time, it could be because the price is too high. In this case, the owners might settle for a lower price.

3. Are there any known issues with the property?

Agents are legally obliged to advise of any known issues and significant information when selling a home, so make sure to ask them what they know. It is a good idea to conduct your own investigation as well. A professional building inspector may also provide valuable information about the house you are looking at.

4. When was the house built?

You'd never buy a car without knowing how old it is – the same goes for buying a house. Don't be fooled by the lick of paint, fresh flowers and fancy furniture. A home may seem new at first glance but this might not be a true reflection of its age.

Knowing how old a home is allows you to look out for signs of deterioration or underlying issues. Keep in mind that this doesn't necessarily mean that a newer home will have fewer issues. It's also good to know if the house has ever been renovated and what was done specifically.

5. Are you aware of any future developments in the area?

The answer to this question may influence your decision depending on what you are looking for and what developments might be planned. New developments could mean better amenities such as shopping centres and medical clinics. On the other hand, a 14-story apartment complex is something you might not want to wake up to while drinking your morning coffee. Either way, it's good to know what the future looks like for your suburb and how you see yourself fitting in there.

While it's great to ask your real estate agent as many questions as you can, it's also a good idea to do your own research too. You can never be too informed when it comes to buying what's usually your most expensive asset.


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