A question of etiquette: should you ask someone what they paid for their house?

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Dying to know what your mate paid for his new home? Here's some tactful ways to ask the question.

Dying to know what your mate paid for his new home? Here’s some tactful ways to ask the question.

OPINION: Kiwis, typically, don’t like talking about money.

We never mention our salaries. Nobody knows how much our cars cost. We fight over restaurant and bar tabs so nobody has to have a “how much do I owe you?” conversation.

Houses are different for a couple of reasons.

The housing market is, by far and away, the most topical item of national interest for all New Zealanders.

New developments in housing make the news headlines every day, and if somebody you know buys or sells, everybody is interested to see how their number matches up with what’s happening in the rest of the market.

Moreover, what you pay for your house is public information. It carries no privilege, and can easily be looked up on certain property information websites in a matter of clicks.

This isn’t to say you should brashly ask, “whad’ya pay?” when a friend or colleague signs a sale agreement. There’s some social etiquette to apply to it.

The most tactful way to do this is not to explicitly ask. Instead, let the new buyer divulge it in a conversation. It’s perfectly polite to make queries along the following lines:

“What are houses of that size going for in that area?”

“Are prices much over the RV (rateable valuation) in your new neighbourhood?”

“Did you have to get involved in a competitive tender/auction process?”

Such lines of questioning allow the buyer some breathing room. They’ll be engaging in a relaxed chat with you, not pressured with a bold, conversation-stopping question.

There are several reasons why you may want to ask others what they paid for their house, and it pays to be aware of your motivations, too.

You may be in the market yourself, and trying to navigate the ever-difficult environment that is real estate in 2016. In such a case, making your motivation clear will be a nice ice-breaker.

Similarly, you may be thinking about selling, and wondering if it’s the right time or not. A new buyer will be able to offer some insight into their experience of the live market.

This is something that is hard to gauge passively from reading the news – you really need to be on the open home trail every weekend (and making offers) to find out what it’s really like out there.

There is one motivation that, if self-realised, should stop you from asking how much somebody paid for their house.

Where you want to ask for reasons of envy, you may be best to bite your tongue.

Either you’re seeking reassurance that the buyer “overpaid” and thus you can feel smug about your current position, or you want to know the price was low and your socio-economic status is not surpassed by theirs.

Tread lightly if you decide to proceed, or be happy that “ignorance is bliss” if you resolve otherwise.

 – Stuff

Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz

 

 

 

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2017-04-07T15:44:00+00:00