20 questions to ask homeowners

Homeowners know their house best. To make sure that a property really meets your needs and is in good condition, you should feel free to ask the owners certain questions.

“Several of the answers may already be in the listing, but you can never be too careful, especially on the issue of the building’s structure,” advises Martin Desfossés, real estate coach at DuProprio. “Whether it’s during a first conversation over the phone or during the home visit, it’s important to check the information so you can carry out the transaction in good conscience.”

The building

1. In what year was it built?

2. When was the current roof installed?

  • Is it under warranty? If so, until when?
  • Is the warranty transferrable to the new owners?
  • Has the roof leaked recently?

3. When were the windows put in?

  • Are they under warranty? If so, until when?
  • Is the warranty transferrable to the new owners?
  • Do any of the windows have problems?

4. Is there any work that needs to be done for known problems?

5. Do you still have the invoices for any work that was done?

Installations

6. Has any damage whatsoever occurred in the last few years?

7. In what year was the water heater installed?

8. Does the electrical panel meet the safety standards of the Régie du bâtiment du Québec?

9. Does the woodstove meet insurance company standards?

10. When was the septic tank changed, inspected and cleaned?

Surroundings

11. What is the neighbourhood like (e.g. young families, young retirees, etc.)?

12. Is there a source of noise nearby (e.g. railroad tracks)?

13. Who owns the fences around the property?

Expenses

14. What are the monthly and yearly expenses?

  • Municipal taxes
  • School taxes
  • Electricity*
  • Insurance

*This information can be checked on the Hydro-Québec website, using the address of the property.

15. Is any equipment rented (e.g. water heater)?

Selling process

16. Can you show me your Declaration of the Seller?

17. Is there an ongoing offer to purchase?

18. What goods are included and excluded from the selling price?

19. What justifications do you have for the asking price?

  • Sold comparables
  • Appraisal report

20. What would be the ideal possession date for you?

Specifics of co-ownership

For a co-owned building, ask to see the co-owners’ agreement, financial statements, meeting minutes and contingency fund statement. While waiting to review the documents, you can ask the following questions:

1. How much are the condo fees per month?

2. What’s included in the condo fees?

3. What amount is in the condo corporation’s reserve fund?

4. What are the main regulations in the co-owners’ agreement?

5. How good is the soundproofing?

Don’t be shy to ask these questions. They’ll help you make a decision and avoid any unpleasant surprises. As for the owners, we recommend you are prepared and have the answers to all these questions in hand.

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