Over the years, I have found that buyers, who i speak with at an open house or over the phone, tend to ask the same questions before they have even walked around the property or asked for the list price.
1) How old is the home?
2) How many square feet?
3) Why are they selling?
I will address the questions insignificance and how the answer is equally if not less important.
I like to answer the first question with a question – “are you looking for a house built in a specific year?” the answer is ALWAYS “no”. A pile of junk property with foundation issues, leaks and uneven floors can be built in any year since the first day houses started being built. Any architectural masterpiece is no different and in fact an art deco design can be built today and fool the most seasoned veterans to believe that it is 100% authentic from the 30’s or 40’s. The year a house was built is redundant. A smart and very important questions you should be asking instead is a 2 part question; what are the upgrades/renovations done to the house and when were they completed? If you have heard from someone that there is no such thing as a dumb question they are wrong, questions #1 is a dumb question.
When I hear people ask these questions, I wonder if its the first questions that come to mind and they don’t really care about the answers.
The second question is the most common. Not necessarily dumb, but rather it is as important as knowing how many steps there are on the second floor staircase. Very, very few people actually know what 2000, 500 or 5000 sq ft looks like. Even if you live in a 2000 sq ft house I can show you a 2500 sq ft house that you would swear is smaller. I could show you a 500 sq ft condo and you wouldn’t be able to guess the size within 100 sq ft, that’s right, you will be off by over 20%. So if you can’t tell the square footage of a house why does the actual number matter? The truth is you need to see the space and spend a few moments in the most important rooms to determine if the space will fulfill your needs. In summary, just don’t ask this question.
Last but not least is why the sellers are selling. I’m sure every buyer who asks this is hoping the answer is; the sellers have run out of money, lost their jobs, and have bills piling up to the rafters, they are desperate to sell. Well here is a news flash, even if that were true, if I’m the sellers agent I have signed a contract that obligates me to do what is in the best interests of my client, the seller. That includes keeping all their personal and financial information confidential. I would bet that if you ask a buyer who always asks this question, they would tell you the most common answer is; “the sellers are just looking for change and are in no rush”. What this means in a polite way is; frankly it’s none of your business!
The moral of the story here is; don’t ask these questions. Look through the house, collect any marketing materials if your interested in the house (floor plans, feature sheets, copy of the survey etc.) and ask your buyers agent to find out the answers to your questions if you have any.
If you don’t have a buyers agent yet drop me a line and you will be glad you did. If you think i’m wrong, let me know by commenting below.