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7 Must-ask questions before you make an offer on a house

Buying a home is one of the most important investments you'll make. Ask these questions to avoid buyer's remorse and overpaying for the property.

Make Offer On House

Article summary

  • Ask questions that will help you determine an ideal offering price, such as how long the house has been on the market.
  • Find out the seller’s reason for selling, and how long it’s been since they purchased the home.
  • Find out how frequently the property changes hands, and consider calling original owners to find out why they moved.

Buying a home is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your life, and you’ll want to avoid buyer’s remorse at all costs. Aside from that, you want to make sure you don’t overpay for the property; any money you save in the process can go a long way.

Ask the estate agent these questions before making an offer on a house

These questions will help you settle on an ideal offering price and avoid potential flaws in the home.

Questions to ask before making an offer on a home:

  1. Why is the house being sold?
  2. How long has the house been for sale?
  3. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
  4. Are there impending changes in the area that could affect you as a homeowner?
  5. Is it a quiet neighbourhood (if that’s important to you)?
  6. How frequently has the property changed hands?
  7. When will the owners move out?

1. Why is the house being sold?

An important question for understanding the intentions of the seller. Are they moving overseas; looking to purchase a holiday home; looking for a smaller property since the kids have moved out?

You’ll want to look at how long it’s been since they purchased the property. If it wasn’t that long ago, you might want to conduct further investigation into their reasons for selling.

2. How long has the house been for sale?

This will influence your offering price. If the home has been on the market for a long time you may be able to convince the seller to drop the price.

3. Is it a buyer’s market or a sellers’ market?

Knowing what kind of market you’re in will also help you determine an ideal asking price.

As of 2022, South Africa remains a buyer’s market, despite rising interest rates. Supply still outstrips demand, especially as pent-up demand is unleashed in the wake of the lockdowns.

This has led to reduced prices, especially in the area of luxury housing.

4. Are there any impending changes in the area that could affect you as a homeowner?

Find out if there are any coming changes in the neighbourhood that could make the home less valuable. Is a nearby train station that might otherwise have provided convenient public transport about to close down? Is a new road being built that could result in noisy traffic? Make sure this isn’t a case of the home owner knowing something you don’t.

5. Is it a quiet neighbourhood and is that important to you?

If you want to live in a quiet neighbourhood, you’ll need to investigate the neighbourhood in which you intend to purchase. Are there lots of barking dogs, screaming children? Is there noisy traffic nearby?

The best way to investigate this is to visit the neighbourhood at various points during the day. For example, it might be quiet during the afternoon, but noisier in late afternoon when the kids get back from school; or noisier in the morning when there’s heavy traffic.

6. How frequently has the property changed hands?

A property that has changed hands frequently in the past few years should set alarm bells ringing, and you should consider contacting the previous owners to find out why they moved. This is how many ghost stories begin, but aside from that you’ll want to find out if there’s something about the surrounding area that is causing people to move out.

7. When will the owners move out?

You need to find out whether you can move into the house immediately, or if you have to find alternate accommodation until the owners move out.

When you’re ready to make an offer…

It’s recommended to get prequalified so you’ll have an idea of what you can afford before commencing with your house hunt.

Prequalification will also provide you with your credit score, which will help you determine your chances of getting a home loan approved.

You can get prequalified by contacting an expert at ooba Home Loans or by using our free, online prequalification tool, the Bond Indicator.

Get prequalified for a home loan today

DIY with our online prequalification tool, or speak to an expert.

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