Let’s start with a story. A few years back, we were planning to buy a house. In the third house we visited, we were thinking to start bidding. But before, we had a second viewing planned. And it was time to ask the real estate agent some extra questions!
What happened was this: in our head, everything looked better than it was in real life. The facade needed repair, there was a leakage in the garage. The noise of the school children playing almost in the garden.
1. How long is this house on the market?
Even in this market, I saw a house which was for sale already more than 2 years. What did the owners do? Removing and uploading the house again and choose a different broker. If the house is for sale for quite a while, normally there is something wrong. Good to know what is wrong.
2. How many years did the owner live in this house?
Some people live in their house for their whole life. But what, if the current owner lived only 2 years in the house? Is he moving back to his or her family? Or was the house a disappointment? Is the neighbourhood too noisy for him?
3. From when is the house available?
Immediately or in about a year? That makes a huge difference. In some cases, the owner sells the house before buying a new house. Or a new house is in the building process, which can cause delays. But what if you need a house immediately? That is why this question is important.
4. Why is the owner selling the house?
There can be a lot of reasons why people sell a house. Does the house need a renovation? Or is it because the family needs more space? The answer can give you a lot of background information.
5. How is the neighbourhood?
There are several ways to check how it is to live in a neighbourhood. By asking, you already have some information.
If you want to check yourself: Just check this blog for all the information.
6. What costs are involved to maintain this house?
Old houses will have more maintenance costs than a brand-new house. Is the house recently renovated? And what about the next big maintenance job?
7. How high is the energy bill?
A low energy bill means the house is well insulated, or the owners heat the house very wisely. An energy bill says a lot about the monthly costs you can expect.
8. Are there things which I can buy from the owner? What will stay behind?
In a lot of countries, a house will be sold including curtains, furniture and flooring. In the Netherlands, it is common to move everything. If there are things that stay behind, you can negotiate on it.
9. What do you think about the condition of this house?
Of course, this question is a bit subjective. But maybe you get an answer you didn’t expect and really want to know. You can also ask if there is a technical inspection available.
Do you need someone to look deep into all the details you received? With a professional eye? Just plan an introductory meeting to help you on your way.
10. Any local plans that can affect us as owners?
Space is scarce in the Netherlands. A lot of plans are developed by provinces, the state and municipalities. So this is a good question to ask a real estate agent. Municipalities seek opportunities to build more houses in the cities. So, maybe that old building in front of your house will be a flat in a few years. Do you still want to live in that house? You can also check this website.
11. Have any major works been conducted?
Like foundation, insulating measure or replacing windows. If so, you can ask if this is still in the guarantee period. Good to know, isn’t it?
Dutch culture and asking questions to the real estate agent
Asking questions is not rude in the Netherlands. It is seen as you show interest in the house. Too many questions are not wise either, you can be seen as difficult. So think about which question is important for you to be answered. And think always: if I have more questions, I can or e-mail call again.