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If you’re looking to buy a property, you’ll need to know as much information about the property as you can. Unfortunately, a great deal of information you should know is not known to your average buyer in the property market. And that’s ultimately because most people don’t even know what questions to ask in order to obtain such information.

One of the greatest mistake people make is becoming too quickly emotionally attached to a property. This prevents them from asking the necessary questions during the home buying process either because they’re experiencing clouded judgment or – worse – they don’t want to know what’s wrong with the property because they love it so much.

So below, we’ll outline 11 vital questions to ask a real estate agent when buying a property. This applies whether you’re buying your dream home or an investment.

1. Can I have a property sales report?

Relatively few people think about this, but it may be the single most important question you could ask. A sales report will show similar properties in the surrounding area and what prices they have sold for recently. It may indicate whether the price you’re buying is fair, or well above what the market is willing to pay. You’ll have better negotiating power with this report in your hands.

Other information that is typically included in a sales report will include pictures and the floorplan of the property, the history of the property (including how much it sold for in the past) and details about the suburb (such as what schools or shops are nearby).

It’s also a good idea to cross check and supplement some of the information you see in the report online on websites such as or For the below property, for example, the below information can easily be located online:

You’ll see that information such as recent sales and a suburb profile are all available for the above property in South Coogee, NSW on

2. Why are they selling?

If you ask why the vendor is selling the property, it can help you negotiate a price. It may even end up saving you thousands of dollars.

If they are selling a property because they’ve bought another one, for example, the vendor might want to push through a quick sale and won’t mind letting it go for a cheaper price.

At the same time, they might be selling the property because there is a critical and perhaps unfixable issue with the building. This may help you decrease the price significantly or, alternatively, look for another property altogether.

If the property is off-market (i.e. has not technically been listed for sale yet), consider asking the real estate agent why the vendor has chosen to sell the property off-market. This can once again assist you negotiating a better price. New data shows that homeowners selling their properties off-market could be sacrificing on average around $30,000 when compared to selling at an auction.

3. How long has the property been on the market?

This is critical to find out. In Australia, the average time a property is on the market is about a month. So if a property has been on the market for more than six weeks, something is seriously wrong. It could be because the property is incorrectly priced, but it could also mean there is something wrong with the property.

It also just might be you are dealing with a stubborn seller. They may very well know that the property is priced too high but refuse to lower it.

A property may also have been taken to auction but didn’t sell. If that’s the case, ask what happened. If the property was “passed in” (i.e. the highest bid at auction was below the property’s reserve price), ask what that pass-in price was. Ask also who bid that pass-in price (if it was a buyer or if it was the vendor trying to push the price up). In today’s market, this is particular important given that a record number of properties are now selling before an auction even begins.

4. How much do the sellers really want?

In our experience, properties rarely ever go for the initial asking price. You don’t want to waste time haggling over a price the vendor isn’t going to accept. Ask the agent how much the vendors actually want, and whether or not they are open to negotiating and sell for less.

When you ask the question, the real estate agent may be unwilling to answer. They will probably just say they want to see how the market responds.

If they do answer, a cheeky tip is to respond with shock and say “Sorry, how much??” The agent will then be placed into an uncomfortable position of needing to justify why they have named that price, which can possibly reveal some critical information you haven’t received. If possible, you should find out the minimum amount the vendor is willing to sell the property for. You want to know if, realistically, it is an amount you can afford. If not, it may not be worth your time bargaining over the property at all.

5. What is the suburb profile like (and how has it changed over time)?

Closely observing the demographics of the area, as well as the parks, schools and public transport, is critical . A lot of this information will be in the sales report, but it’s also critical to ask the agent just in case it is not. When you’re buying a property, you’re buying a piece of an area – so it’s critical to know everything you can about that area.

Is the area full of retirees? Is it full of homeowners or renters? Are there young families there? Is there Centrelink housing nearby? This will largely affect your lifestyle there. If you’re a young couple looking for a dynamic neighbourhood with lots of people your age, you may be disappointed when you move in only to find that the primary demographic of the area are retirees who mainly keep to themselves.

6. What do you think of the suburb and location?

While the report and the numbers say a lot, personal experience matters. If an agent is local to the area, they’ll probably have first-hand knowledge of what it’s actually like to live there. They can provide some very valuable information about what the community and the amenities are like, what to watch out for, what’s nearby and what’s far away.

You should ask the real estate agent what the neighbours are like. Do the neighbours talk to each other or are they a little more confined? Is there a neighbourly Christmas lunch or community events that occur? Does the next door neighbour have a dog that barks well into the night (by the way – particularly important)?

7. Have any renovations been done to the property?

If you look at how much a property last sold for, it may be misleading as to the actual value of the property you are buying. If the owner has just done $2 million worth of renovations, it will likely be worth a little more than what you at first expected.

Make sure you find this out. It makes a big difference to your negotiating power. A seller will be unlikely to drop a price by too much if they’ve just injected millions of dollars’ worth of upgrades into their property. Without this information, you may mistakenly believe that the seller is just being stubborn and it could unnecessarily frustrate and delay your negotiations.

8. Are there any development applications or council plans in place?

You should ask about any development applications that are currently in progress nearby, or if the local council is planning to do anything significant.

Are there any plans for the suburb in the future that you know about, such as the development of a large shopping complex? Are they planning to build a massive big box store? Are they planning to clear a lot of the land to make room for a new airport?

This is important not only because it may affect the value of your property, but also your lifestyle. Imagine buying a property with an amazing view of a body of water, only to soon discover that the council had plans to grow trees or construct buildings directly blocking that view. You’ll want to know about these things before you sign the dotted line.

A case in point is a block of luxury apartments in the United Kingdom, who are currently undertaking legal action against an art gallery (the Tate Modern) who opened a platform in 2016 resulting in visitors allegedly looking right into their homes.

9. Are there any known issues with the building?

Although this information will typically be picked up in your home inspection and in a pest & building report (which you should always make sure gets done), you should ask the agent this question as well. A good real estate agent will be honest and upfront with you if there’s any issues that may affect your ultimate decision to buy.

This could be any number of issues. Does the building have a known termite problem? Is the kitchen sink leaking? Are the gutters rusted? Is the timber on the balcony rotting and needs replacing? Has the piping in the walls causing any problems? Is there any problem with electricity that I should know about?

Make sure you extract as much information as you can out the real estate agent. But always double check independently the information you receive in the pest & building report.

10. What are the inclusions in the sale?

When you buy a house, you may also be buying some of the contents in the house. It is important to make sure you know what you are buying, as once again it could affect the price you end up settling for. You should always make sure you agree on what is or is not included when buying the house. This will (at least in New South Wales), typically be included in your contract for sale and is essential so that there are no misunderstandings later on.

For example, are you also buying the garden shed out the back? Are you buying the dishwasher and a stove? What about the refrigerator and any laundry equipment? Is a TV antenna included? In New South Wales, the standard form contract for the sale of property allows a real estate agent to tick certain items which are included in the sale:

You will see in the above example that this sale includes fixed floor coverings, light fittings, the stove and a range hood. But the buyer who is purchasing this property will not have things like solar panels, insect screens, blinds or curtains included.
If you don’t know if anything in particular is included, you should always ask.

11. What else do I need to know?

You should ask the real estate agent an open-ended question, as they may very well tell you useful information that you did not know or even think to inquire about.

Think about your goals for the property too. If you are thinking about buying an investment property and are looking to create a dual income, ask the real estate agent if it is possible to extend the property into a duplex or perhaps even build a granny flat.

Ask all questions to your real estate agent before settlement

The best time for questions to ask a real estate agent is before settlement After settlement, the property becomes completely your responsibility. And it’s too late to ask questions.

All the issues that arise, whether it be a defective roof, fault electricity or cracks in the floorboards, become your problem – and you have no right to go back to the person who sold you the property.

Don’t get us wrong. These may be uncomfortable and hard questions to ask people, especially real estate agents. But they are a necessity so that you can obtain the facts to make an informed decision about your purchase.

The property market is fast-moving, quick and sometimes even unforgiving. It is important to be as vigilant so knowing the right questions to ask a real estate agent when buying is absolutely essential.

If you’re looking to find a real estate agent to ask questions about property, get in touch with our team at Top Agent Finder today.