Beyond the basics -- questions about market value, age of construction, attendant features and facilities -- delve into these five lines of inquiry to determine whether the listing is a smart, ideal purchase or not.
What are the downsides of the property?
Ask the broker the less ideal aspects of the property you're interested in. He should be upfront about them and be able to weigh the pros and cons of the listing with a critical eye.
Why is the owner selling?
Circumstances will influence how much the seller will accept for the property. Is he moving away; is he in need of money? Is he looking for a fast turnaround? Was he displeased, for some reason, with the home? Should your broker be privy to disclose the reasons, the answers will enlighten you as to any problems with the home. The information should also help you arrive at an offer.
How long has the property been on the market?
How long has it been pending sale? Has the listing sat idle for more than several months? It might be indicative of some problems. The listing is likely overpriced, for instance. The neighborhood might not be ideal, either. Or it might not be the best time, economically speaking, to buy a house. Ask your broker why he think the listing isn't selling.
How often does the property change ownership?
A property that has changed hands frequently might mean something is wrong with it. The location might prove less ideal, for instance. Noisy neighbors, flooding, or a neighborhood in decline -- look into these concerns.
Who else is interested in the property?
Competing buyers are often used to get you to up your offer. But you should know whether you have competition. A lot of interest in the listing also bodes well: it means that it's an attractive product.