Buying?? Critical questions to ask your Real Estate Agent

PUBLISHED 19 JUN 2018   


We all know the stress of buying your first or even second home. Whether it's for investment purposes or your next home sweet home there are certain questions you just can't afford not to ask your real estate agent...


Is there room to negotiate?
Who knows? You may just be able to negotiate a much sweeter deal than what was advertised. If your potential new home requires a bit of renovation, mention this to the agent or seller. Perhaps the tiles need to be redone or the bath isn’t in mint condition. If you’ll have to spend more money on fixing things around the house, the price can probably be brought down.

How long has the house been on the market?
A house that has been on the market for more than a few months could mean that it is overpriced for what it offers. This is enough reason to raise those eyebrows and ask the estate agent why. Don’t be afraid to move on to the next home if you don’t have a good feeling about the value you will be getting. It is a buyer’s market after all…

How long did the previous owners live there?
If the previous owners were living there for several years, it’s highly likely that they were happy there and that they aren’t moving out because the house is falling apart or the neighbours are too noisy.

Is there any damage to the property that you know of?
It may be easy to spot a broken light bulb or crack in the wall but some things will probably only be discovered once you move in… For instance, you may find out there is a roof leak as soon as there’s heavy rainfall. Don’t be afraid to ask the real estate agent about damp or other concealed faults in and around the house. They are duty-bound to divulge the truth or face consequences in the case of non-disclosure.

Municipal rates?
Because municipal rates vary, a general estimate is simply not enough. Knowing exactly how much you’ll pay in utility bills will allow you to budget up front or determine whether the levies are way beyond what you can afford.

What is the broadband like?
This may not be the be-all and end-all, but it’s always good to know. Most homes rely heavily on the internet, especially if some family members work from home, conduct online research for school or work assignments or simply enjoy being able to “Netflix and chill”. Knowing how reliable the network is will help you to make the right decision.

Getting insured
Once you have gone ahead and put in the offer on what could become your dream home, make sure you apply for an online insurance quote to insure your home and all your household items. Having home insurance gives you peace of mind in knowing that, in the unfortunate event of a burglary or natural disaster, your precious abode and valuables will be covered.

Estate Agency Affairs Board and FFC?
Now this is probably the most uncomfortable question to ask, but any Estate Agent with a valid FFC (Fidelity Fund Certificate) registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) will take no offense to this and will probably gladly provide you with proof thereof. This protects you as buyer knowing that should the unforeseen occur that you are covered by a watchdog with multiple avenues of recourse. This also separates the fly-by-night agents from the real deal and will probably save you a bunch of sleepless nights and heartache. 

At Signature Realty we pride ourselves in preparing answers to all these basic questions and a whole lot more for every property to ensure that your can make an informed decision when buying the property of your dreams. Feel free to contact any of our friendly agents at any time for assistance. 

Written by: Rico de Villiers - Managing Director

Credit: Caryn Edwards