Additional Buyer Research Questions

Property market
Property market (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)
After last weeks post on the Homefinders Kit 2 I was contacted and asked what additional questions might a buyer want to ask or look into. I came up with the following list. Now it'd be quite a bit to just hand this over to a seller and ask them to point blank answer all the questions as it could make the seller wary but it's a good start to have these issues to be aware of.

Buyers Questions for Sellers
1. Has the house had any history of flooding, water penetration or leakage
2. Has there been any newsworthy reporting of crime or media curiosity in or on the property or directly adjacent to?
3. Was any work done in the time of the owners that required the issuance of permits by the local municipality and were they obtained and inspected and approved?
4. Are there any sex offenders within ½ mile (or whatever distance you deem acceptable) of the property? Important if you have children, also research where the bus stop is, route to and from likely places that the children will gather or travel. This one will most likely need to be researched at the local police department. The buyer needs to do this themselves and at the same time ask for the crime statistics. Real estate professionals aren't qualified to give complex criminal demographic interpretations.
5. Is there any occasional, seasonal or periodic natural or man made sequence or occurrence which might impede the buyer’s quiet enjoyment of the property including the outdoor surroundings of the property?
6. Has there ever been a radon test performed on the property? If so by whom & results of any testing. Has the property had remediation performed? If yes, by whom and when.
7. Has there ever been environmental testing performed on the property? If so by whom & results of any testing. Has the property had remediation performed? If yes, by whom and when.
8. Have there been any recorded or reported paranormal/haunting/unexplained episodes? If yes, when, what type, description and manner of activity.
9. Has the sewerage system had any malfunction, problems or issues? If yes, what type & what was done to remedy, when & by whom.
10. Has there ever been a fire or smoke loss recorded at the property? If yes, what type & what was done to remedy, when & by whom.
11. Are there any industrial or commercial businesses or activities within ½ mile of the property that may affect the buyer’s enjoyment of the property?
12. Has there been any lead inspection or remediation done on the property? If yes, by whom & when.
13. Is the property subject to any liens, legal claims or debts?
14. Is the seller aware of any smells, out gassing, environmental odors associated with the property and neighborhood that might interfere with the buyer’s enjoyment of the property?
15. Is the seller aware of any issues with the water supply to the property? Water delivery? Volume of delivery or potability of the water provided?
16. Has the property experienced power outages? If yes, when and for what reasons.
17. Has there been a history of mold issues with the property? If yes, when and for what reasons, when remedied & by whom.
18. Has there been a history of problems with the sun either direct or reflected into and onto the property?
19. Has there been a history of problems with the natural foliage & fauna & plantings or trees associated with the property or directly adjacent to the property?
20. Has there been a history of problems with water runoff from adjacent properties?
21. Has there been a home inspection during the homeowner’s occupancy? If yes, what issues were found, when & by whom.

Many of the questions are based upon the standard disclosure document that some sellers & listing offices provide. Some offices do not advise for the seller to make disclosures based upon the form and the lack of the sellers ability to make the disclosures properly and in an informed way. Both are perfectly acceptable. That's part of the challenge of real estate. The presence of or lack thereof the disclosure form doesn't mean anything. If asked the seller is required to answer honestly or suffer the consequences of misleading or false statements, same with the real estate professionals involved in a sale/purchase. You have to know to ask the questions and/or do the research to find the answers. If you don't ask you won't know. This is by no means an all encompassing list each situation needs to be handled individually.
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