“But one of the reasons we bought the home was….”
Imagine getting a call from a client that bought their dream home thanks to your efforts as buyer’s agent. You remember how excited they were to move in, how happy they were with your service, and how smoothly everything seemed to go through the closing date.
But they’ve caught you off guard: their plans for the home came into direct conflict with a law, an easement, or a homeowner’s association (HOA) rule, and they can’t make the improvements or modifications they had envisioned.
An educated agent is a more powerful agent, and the highest-performing realtors ask these questions as they get to know their clients.
1. What improvements would you like to make to this property?
As you get to know your buyers, find out what they want to change or add as they look at properties. Perhaps they want to:
- Install a pool.
- Build a new fence or upgrade an existing one.
- Build a shed or a garage.
- Do extensive landscaping, grow certain types of trees, or install a larger-than-average vegetable garden.
- Add a room, a whole new wing, or second floor.
Take these plans into consideration as you advise your clients to review the HOA rules, the title commitment, and the survey. Take note of any easements granted to neighbors or utilities. Will any of them conflict with your client’s plans?
In some instances, when the intended changes are substantial, it’s prudent to pre-check with the local municipality on setback restrictions, building permit requirements, and other regulations.
2. What animals do you plan to keep?
Families with one or two dogs or cats rarely have issues, but sometimes families keep several pets, breed them, or rescue animals. Some want to raise barnyard animals, build a chicken coop, or keep bees. Others want to keep less traditional, even dangerous, animals.
Make sure you do your research and find out what rules apply in this regard—both with the HOA and the local municipality.
3. Are you planning to rent out your home now or in the future?
Some neighborhoods will not allow “rentals” (especially when it comes to condos) or may have limits when it comes to the number of rentals allowed in a particular condo or subdivision development.
As services like Airbnb, VRBO, and others have gained popularity, some municipalities and HOAs are moving to limit short-term rentals as well. While this may not be a deal-breaker for your client, it’s best if they know the limitations up front.
4. What else can you tell me about your life, your needs, and your plans?
Make sure your buyer carefully reviews the HOA’s rules before making an offer (or at least during the due diligence period). Good conversations—coupled with careful research—will help you determine if a property will be right for a buyer in the long run.
At True Title, we’re here to support you as you serve your buyers’ individual needs. We want to make sure we arm you with the best possible information as we look into the title history of a property.
If you ask for a copy of the subdivision indentures, for example, we will provide a copy to you and your client.
Let us know what your buyers’ plans are so we can do our best to make sure no one is surprised—or disappointed—when it could otherwise be too late.