Date: 28/09/2020
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Four Things to Ask the Seller

You've found the perfect house, and now you just need the sellers to get out, already! You've got furniture to arrange and memories to be made. But before you kick the previous owners to the curb, keep in mind that they hold a wealth of knowledge about your home-to-be. They know its fabulous hidden treasures and the little quirks.

Since barging in for a chat while they're packing boxes would be uncool, use your agent to be a mediator for questions you might have before you settle in. He or she can pass the questions along to the sellers' agent, and if the sellers are willing, it could lead to an email or phone number exchange if needed. Although they are not legally responsible for follow-up questions beyond what was disclosed and negotiated on during the sale, some sellers might surprise you by making sure their home is well loved and taken care of after they move on.

Here are four things to ask the seller about:


  1. Are there any instruction manuals for the larger appliances or other electrical systems in the house? Sometimes it's nice to know the best way to set the timer on the oven or how to change the filter on the fridge without having to call a professional. If they don't have the manual, they might be willing to share some of their care tips for certain appliances. Also, if you're sticking with their color choices on the walls, ask for paint names in case you need to buy touchup paint.
  2. Along the same lines, are there any upgrades or improvements in the house that might require extra care or have unconventional switches for operation? Ask the seller to walk you through the process or to fill you in on any quirky things that might make the house run more efficiently. One seller let the buyers know that running several big appliances at once downstairs will sometimes make the fuse blow, and the new owners for thankful for a head's up.
  3. What are the neighbors like? Does the older lady next door like to be left alone or is she chatty? Do kids play out in the common areas much? Is there a particular neighbor that can be counted on to bring in your trashcan when you're out of town? Knowing some of those things up front can make you feel more confident as you start to meet your neighbors out and about.
  4. Is there an HOA (Home Owners Association), and if so, where do I get all the information on the rules and where and when to pay? Ask for names and contact information for the administrators and any other tips you might need to know about meetings and how they are conducted. I also wrote more extensively about HOA's here and here.

Don't be afraid to ask the seller questions, but be sure to do so with tact and through the wisdom of your agent.