Whether you are buying or selling, you probably have a lot of questions. One thing is important to note: no question is silly or stupid and the more you understand about a real estate transaction, regardless of what side you are on, the more comfortable you will feel and confident about the sale or the purchase.
But, we do get some odd questions from time to time and there are usually questions in every single transaction. Each deal is different so you never know what you’ll be asked. Here are some of the most interesting questions we’ve received.
Q. Has anyone ever died in the home?
This is actually a very valid question and a common one at that. Many people just don’t want to live in a home where someone has passed away, regardless of how they actually died. In the state of Wisconsin, sellers do not have a legal obligation to disclose whether or not someone has died, been murdered or committed suicide within the home. There are a lot of other legal disclosures that sellers must inform buyers of including the condition of the house and any known lead-based paint, radon or asbestos, but as far as deaths in the home, it is not required. Now, you can certainly do your own investigative research and find out through public records but other than that, may not know and you have to know if you are going to be okay with that. As a side note, I’ve also had the question “is there anyone buried in the backyard?” This follows the same rules as normal sellers disclosure for the property itself but once you buy the home you are free to plot a shovel and look for yourself.
Read More: What to Look for in a Resale Home
Q. Is the house haunted?
Usually, the same people that ask about deaths in the home are the same people that ask about the house being haunted and it falls under the same stipulation as the death disclosure. If sellers don’t know, they can’t say and it is up to their preference whether they want to promote that their house is haunted or not. Chances are, most homeowners don’t want anyone to know if they think their house is haunted but cracks, creaks, and creepy noises, especially in older homes, can certainly encourage this type of question. Some people might think it’s a joke but there are others that are very superstitious and will choose to stay far away from a home that has any implication of being haunted.
Related: Should we buy a house right now?
Q. Can I pray about the house?
This is also a very common question and of course, as fair and equal housing laws go, I have no problems with people choosing to do so but there has to be some tactful mess and appropriateness when it comes to praying for the house. I really don’t expect my buyers to drop to their knees or run wailing through the house but it has been known to happen. If you choose to pray over your home purchase or even the sale, I absolutely support this in the privacy of your own home or on your own time.
Q. Do you think the homeowner would give me the house without a down payment or an earnest money deposit?
I’ve had both of these questions separately and together. It can be quite startling when the buyer thinks that they don’t have to put anything down on a house they’re looking to purchase. While anything is possible and the buyer can submit any type of legal offer, chances are that a homeowner will laugh off an offer that doesn’t come with some type of earnest money and/or a down payment.
Q. Can I take measurements or do some remodels before the house closes?
This is a very common question and just about every buyer asks this at some point but, legally, buyers cannot set foot on the property without the seller’s permission and especially not until it closes. Unless the buyer has a good rapport with the seller and the seller doesn’t mind the buyer coming to the house multiple times before finalizing the sale, the seller has the right to refuse entrance for the buyer except for what is mapped out in the contract. Buyers can take a look at the house at the beginning in order to make an offer, at the home inspection if there is one, and the final walk-through. Any other on-site property inspections need to be approved by the homeowner and listing agent.
Q. Can we use the bathrooms, tubs, swimming pools or beds?
Using the restroom when touring houses is not uncommon and most homeowners don’t mind if a buyer or two needs to use the bathroom but for anything other than relieving themselves, it’s very unusual. I’ve had buyers ask to take a swim in the pool before making an offer or even the staying overnight in the homeowner’s house so they know what the home feels like at all hours of the day and night. These requests are most often denied and even if the home is vacant, sellers don’t want people lurking around the property and using the facilities without proper supervision either by the homeowner themselves, the listing agent for the buyer’s agent. It’s best just to stick to the bathroom for its original purpose if you absolutely have to.
Every transaction brings new and unusual questions but these are just some of the most common and also odd questions I’ve received. But, don’t let this deter you. Always ask if you have a question when it comes to buying or selling a property. There are no stupid questions and knowledge is power.
Have a question? Feel free to ask me below. You never know when it might end up on my blog.