Write all of these important questions down before you go to your next open house
For home buyers, going to open houses shouldn’t just be about walking through a nice house and admiring the features. Open houses are a great way not just to experience the space, but to speak to the agent and get important information on the house that could help you decide whether to buy it or not. You might not get another opportunity to talk to the listing agent and more importantly, get some of the answers you need. The best way to maximize this window of opportunity is to come prepared. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to ask, we’ve got you covered! Here are 10 important questions for your next open house:
- Why do the sellers want to leave?
You want to know whether the sellers are moving because the area is becoming increasingly unsafe, the neighbors throw parties every weekend, or the schools are horrible. The agent probably won’t give this information out straight away, but look out for any hesitation or sign that you aren’t getting the full story.
- Have many offers been made on the house?
If they have received good offers, they’ll probably be trying to hide their grins. The listing agent will likely be willing to tell you how many offers they’ve had in the hopes that you’ll join the bidding process and hike up the price.
- Has the price been stable?
Your realtor can show you how many times the price of that house has gone up or down since it was listed, but the listing agent will want to tell you why. Perhaps the price went down because the seller wants to move out as soon as physically possible. Information like this can help you negotiate a better price since you know what the seller’s priority is.
- Does the house have any issues? What are they?
Every seller is required to inform all potential buyers of any structural issues, or code violations that come with the house. It’s best to ask for a complete seller’s disclosure in writing, so make sure you get one–if you’re luck is up that day, a chatty listing agent might tell you even more in a face-to-face meeting. Make sure you have a look at all problem areas suggested by the agent and take photos for your records. Don’t forget to factor this cost into your budget.
- How many months has the property been on the market?
Sites like Trulia can tell you how long a given property has been available for sale. Your agent can also get this information from the local listing service, but you won’t get a full picture of what’s really going on. The house might have been on the market for quite a while, not because no one wants to buy it, but perhaps because the buyer who made the best offer couldn’t access financing in good time. The house could have been on sale for only a week, but the sellers expect high demand and multiple offers. This is all incredibly useful information when you are considering making an offer on a property.
- How soon does the seller want to sell?
Some sellers might want to sell as soon as possible, while others might want to wait till the end of the year so they can spend their last Christmas as a family there together for example. The more you can learn about what the seller’s real motivations are, the more easily you can start to organize yourself around that.
- When was the last time the house was updated?
It is easy to spot the obvious changes: a fresh paint job, brand new tabletops and appliances, etc. However, it’s just as necessary to find out how some of the smaller details are holding up. You want to know how old the roof is, how good the wiring is, etc.
- Are there any (good) food spots around?
Knowing the local restaurants and coffee houses will tell you a lot about the vibe of the neighborhood. If there’s a popular retail strip nearby that locals (not just tourists) recommend, definitely try that out!
- Are utility costs high?
Ask to see a few of the most recent utility bills if possible. That will let you know what the running costs of the house are like. If you’re moving to a much bigger flat than where you’re currently living, you might over or underestimate the cost of utilities.
- Are there any ‘bad’ neighbors?
Is it a younger neighborhood with great nightlife? Or a quiet neighborhood that attracts retirees? Are there child-friendly places around? Some people are happy not knowing who their neighbors are and would prefer not to integrate in the community while others want to know they can leave their children at their neighbor’s house if they need to. The agent should be able to tell you more about who you’ll be surrounded by if you decide to purchase that home.
Remember: While it’s great and necessary to ask lots of questions, make sure you don’t give away too much about your own current situation. Keeping some mystery around your own financial state and how keen you are to buy the house will work in your favor when it’s time to negotiate.
To speak with a local Real Estate Specialist and get your most pressing questions answered with no obligation, Click Here