Are you in the market for a new home in the Bay Area? Looking at San Francisco homes for sale, you’ll find a wide array of wonderful options. It’s easy to get emotional when you find a property you love, but it’s important to stay grounded. Keep in mind that a home is probably the single biggest purchase you’ll make in life, and with such high stakes, caution is paramount.
Get as much information as you can about a property you like before making the decision to buy. Make sure you ask the right questions and you get the answers you’re looking for.
Here are some of the most critical things to ask yourself and the seller:
- What comes with the asking price?
Find out what the seller’s asking price is based upon. Compare the price with
similar homes in the area. If it’s higher than others, this may give you room to
negotiate or to better weigh your options. Base your comparisons on the prices of
sold homes, not on sellers’ asking prices, which may be significantly different
from what will eventually be agreed upon.
- Is the location desirable?
Location is one of the most important considerations in choosing a home. A good location not only makes day-to-day living convenient, it also helps ensure a healthy rate of return if you sell the home in the future.
Look into the area’s accessibility. Is there public transportation nearby? How long is the commute to your place of work? Are there schools, offices, and grocery stores in the area? Proximity to a hospital and fire station is a plus. You will also want to avoid buying in a location with heavy noise, such as one next to a train station or a highway with plenty of traffic.
- Does the home need repairs?
The condition of the home should be a huge factor in making your decision, so don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as possible about it. A disclosure form requires California sellers to describe certain home conditions, such as leaky roofs, malfunctioning appliances, and faulty insulation systems.
However, it pays to ask for information that may not be required in the disclosure, such as the age of the roof, the type of foundation, the age of the plumbing system, and so on. Knowing about potential repairs will help you prepare for their costs and give you a chance to negotiate with the seller about covering these costs.
- Are there pest problems?
Apart from needed repairs, pest infestation is another thing you absolutely must know about. If there’s any, ask about the measures that have been taken to get rid of it. It also helps to know how long the problem has been going on and how widespread it is in the home. Pest infestations are usually red flags, but perhaps you can reach an agreement with the seller about covering extermination costs.
- Can I talk to the seller?
Negotiations are usually conducted between agents, but it can help to talk to the
seller directly. Sellers can give you quick answers to important questions, such
- How much do they owe on the house?
- How many offers have they received?
- How long has the home been on the market?
- Have any major renovations been made?
- What are the neighbors like?
Getting these answers straight from the source can help you in deciding if the
home is right for you, as well as in coming up with the right offer price.
- How much do utilities cost?
Energy bills in San Francisco can be steep, so it’s important to ask the seller about their average monthly bill. Some houses may need more heating in the winter or more cooling in the summer based on the space. Old heating and cooling systems can also increase utilities cost. Asking about these will give you a good idea on what the house will cost to run throughout the year.
With all the competition out there, buying the home of your dreams in San Francisco is not always easy. You need the help of an experienced Realtor who specializes in this highly dynamic market. Nina Hatvany and Team Hatvany have over 25 years of experience and has been the #1 team in all of San Francisco for many years. Let their expertise work for you. Call them at 415.710.6462 or send an email to nina(at)ninahatvany(dotted)com.