Homes for sale listed by Realtors...what questions to ask

When it comes to homes for sale listed by Realtors…what questions should I be asking so I’m not wasting there time or appear to be a beginner investor?

You can always ask questions like when different systems were updated. If you sound like you’re reading from a script or are trying some tactic you learned from a late night infomercial, they’ll probably pick up on it. You should do your own research on what the place is worth. Expect them to have a good poker face and be able to explain why their house is worth so much more than anything else comparable.

The most important question is “When does the listing expire?” lol

Always be honest. If you are a beginning investor tell them that. When I was getting started I was looking at an 1100 sqft house for $110k. I met the Realtor that was selling investor quality houses for 30 years. When I told him I was new at this. He said that I should not be looking at this house, put me in his car and showed me 3 other houses that were in the $50k range and from 1500 to 2100 sqft.

He also told me about my current strategy. He said people move out of apartments for 2 car garages. Also houses without 2 bathrooms are obsolete. So you want to buy 3 to 4 bedroom houses with 2 to 2 ½ bath and a 2 car garage with a pitched roof and slab foundation between 1200 to 2000 sqft built after 1980 that can be bought and fixed up for under $80k. The median household income in Houston Texas is $49k and that means that since you should not rent to people that the rent is more than a third of their income that means that a third of the median income is $1000. You should buy the houses so that you can make money if you rent the house for $1000/month or less. Unless you are flipping a house the PITI can’t be more than $600 or so.

I got all that free by letting this guy know I was new. He is still my main mentor although he has stopped selling houses because he has so many rental units. I did see a bunch of Realtors that thought I was a waste of their time which is an indicator of a “wrong person” type. The “right person” types understand that there is no such thing as a person that you can talk to in this business that is a waste of your time. I made this guy probably $60,000 in direct commissions over the years and probably another $100,000 in indirect just for talking to a guy that ”wrong person” type Realtors thought was a waste of their time.

I am a realtor.

When potential clients ask me a lot of questions it usually leads me to one of two conclusions.

a) they are very interested in the property
b) they are intelligent enough to ask the right questions

both conclusions work to your benefit

I would ask as many questions as possible and would fill out a property “cheat sheet” every time I visited a property.

Roof - Age, Furnace - Age, Foundations, Zoning, Electrical Panel, etc…

BE warned you will probably run into some lazy realtors who do not know the answers… make them work for their commission.


Don’t assume that if the property is with a Realtor it is overpriced or at market price.

Most of the time the homes will be at or above market price unless the owner is extremely motivated.

Of the 30 properties I sold last year - 2 of them were amazing buys 20% below market value.

You just to find the right property, with the right owner, with the right motivation at the right time.

Good LucK

Thanks for all of the great feedback. Where is a good place to find a property cheat sheet?