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Questions to ask when selling or buying a house

By Paul Nelson | Posted - May 5th, 2014 @ 7:46am

SALT LAKE CITY — With home prices going up, a lot of Utahns may be looking to sell their house. But realtors say many customers aren’t asking the right questions before they sell or buy a new house.

When many people buy a new home, they inspect every detail of the house with a fine-toothed comb, as they should. But, some realtors say there are many factors that need to be considered when someone makes a deal. Here are some questions people need to ask when deciding on a home.

What is it really going to be like to live there?

Dave Frederickson is the principal broker at Keller Williams, Salt Lake City. He believes a lot of people fall in love with the house they want to purchase.

“They go into the home and they get excited about the color of paint or the fuzziness of the carpet or the layout of the rooms, and don’t look outside the home,” he said.

So, what else should homebuyers look into?

  • Commute time to and from work
  • How the neighborhood looks at night
  • Meeting the neighbors to see if living near them will be a problem
  • Nearby sources of entertainment
  • Quality of nearby schools (for people with children)

Frederickson said quality of life is dependent on more than just the quality of the home.

It seems like I can afford it, but can I, really?

It’s a common practice for people to get pre-qualified for a loan and then look for a home in that price range. But lenders will be looking at what you can afford, and they won’t be checking to see if you have anything left over at the end of the month.

“What your lender tells you that you can qualify for may not, in fact, be the payment you’re comfortable with,” Frederickson said.

He still recommends people get pre-approved for a loan but back off from getting the highest-priced home they can get.

But, what about sellers? What questions should they ask?

What am I really getting for my money?

The commissions a realtor makes are not set in stone, but then again, neither are the expenses they accrue when they try to sell a house.

“There are some agents that are steadfast in what they charge. Some charge more than others,” Frederickson said.

Some realtors just post a listing online and take out a few ads. But others provide a lot more than that. Some create full 360 degree video walkthroughs of a home. Others put up expensive signage.

Since every realtor operates differently, it’s important sellers know exactly what their realtor gets with his commission.

Am I disclosing everything I need to?

Frederickson said a lot of people have the same question when they notice a potential problem with the home they want to sell.

“Do I need to disclose this?” The answer is essentially always “yes.”

“The seller may, inadvertently, not disclose something they legally have the obligation to disclose and subject themselves to legal action,” Frederickson said.

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