Top Questions A Buyer Could Ask You
Whether you are selling a house on your own, or with an agent, there are some questions you should fully prepared to answer about the house. They are questions that the potential buyers will want to know and have good reason for wanting to know. You will not be able to answer every one on the spot but being prepared or at least being able to say "I'll get back to you on it" will be critical. It is very important to get back with house buyers who asked the questions and give them the appropriate information.

One word of caution: You should try to answer all of their questions, but always be sure to give the disclaimer that you are answering the questions to the best of your knowledge and ability.

If it is a deal breaker for them, either way, they should do their own investigation.

If you aren't able to answer one or more of the questions below, you will need to do your research! The more you can answer, the better.

1. How old are items in the house?

NOTE: The roof, HVAC system, appliances, carpet, linoleum, and even the actual year the house was built.

2. What are the inclusions & exclusions?

Does the stove come with the house? The patio furniture? The unique light fixture in the hallway?

NOTE: Things like that should be very clearly listed as "exclusions" if you are taking them with you when you move out. Therefore the buyer should expect to furnish those items on their own. This can be crucial when dealing with appliances.

3. What school district are you in?

NOTE: The buyer should verify this on their own but you can tell them your guess. Remind them that districts can rezone at the drop of a hat so they need to be sure before moving if that will be where their children go.

4. What are your average utility bills?

NOTE: This is important to note that you need to stress that this is what they were in the past but you cannot guarantee this the rate they will be for the new buyer.

5. Have you made any renovations? Do you have the plans & permits for those?

NOTE: You should have this information readily available to pass on to buyers because they will need to know if you installed a new gas line for a fireplace in the master bedroom, or maybe put in a separate water line for the garage.

6. How much are the property taxes? HOA fees?

NOTE: All buyers can look this up but you can have the approximate numbers on hand so they can file it away in their minds to either keep the house on their list or move on due to the high numbers.

7. Is the area safe?

NOTE: This can be a difficult question to answer. You want to tell them "yes it is" but when you say that, you are giving them a false sense of security. You also don't want to scare them off. The best way to answer this type of question, and keep you out of the hot seat later, is to recommend they check the police reports for the area. Have the website available on a card or on the listing. Remember if you tell them yes and they can prove that, you may be in legal trouble down the road if they are the victim of a crime.

8. Is the area quiet?

NOTE: Again, encourage them to find out on their own. Invite them back at night or during the traffic hours. Noise is subjective and while some will find lots of cars bothersome, others will find extreme silence annoying. It is all dependent on what they are used to. Don't make any guarantees to the quietness of the area. If they wake up night after night because of the trains nearby, they can come back and state you misrepresented the house.

9. Do you know of any changes to the neighborhood or area?

NOTE: This could cause construction issues for a new buyer and most of the time, they want to know if the area will grow, stay the same, or be a constant headache. You can answer this to the best of your ability. If you have information off the internet, have it ready and printed out. This way they can use the facts to make their decision.

10. How much did you pay for the house?

NOTE: You don't have to answer this but most property prices, in the majority of states are public record. Some are sealed and they will never know but they can get an estimate from any online search. If you want to answer in a ballpark range, that should satisfy their curiosity while giving you some privacy.

Remember that you not obligated to give them any information you don't know. You should know these details but you can decline to answer anything you decide. If you don't know, don't guess and represent it as factual; that can cause legal problems for you down the road. In your eagerness to sell the house, don't make it sound better than it is or make statements without facts to support them.

If you have the facts, share the facts.

Stay away from emotional responses because that is where you can get into trouble. When you state that you "leave your doors unlocked all day long, even when you're gone" or "we left our bikes outside and nothing happened," you are giving them the unfair representation that the area is perfectly safe. While it may be, in your situation, not everyone will have the same experience. If they can prove that you told them the area was perfectly safe and they would leave their doors unlocked, when they have a break-in, you could be held responsible for part of the damage. Use facts and be able to support your facts with real documents. When you don't know the answer, be honest and say you don't know. Don't create your own facts to sell the house.

Now that you know the types of questions to be prepared to answer, you're one step closer to selling your house! I'm sure you could wow your potential house buyers, but what if you don't have any buyers yet? What if none of the buyers you have satisfied your needs? Even if you have a long list of qualified buyers, it doesn't hurt to explore more options. The more buyers you have, the more chances you have to find the right one! Add more potential buyers to your list by submitting your property information to us too! Click here or give us a call at (607) 527-6097 to get started!

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Last updated: September 10, 2020

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