Attending open houses is an exciting part of the home shopping adventure, and provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about your could-be home. After your initial walk-through of the home, take advantage of your face-to-face time with the seller’s agent and pick his or her brain on the property. In case you are stumped on what to ask, below we have shared our top 6 questions to ask at an open house:
How many offers have been made?
This question will help gauge just how competitive your offer needs to be, especially in today’s market. Listing agents are generally eager to disclose a multiple bid situation, in hopes you will make an offer that could spark a bidding war.
What’s the seller’s timeline?
Timing is everything. If a seller needs to relocate for work they may be looking to close quickly, or they may want to delay the sale so their children can finish out the school year. The more information you gather, the more easily you can put together an appealing offer tailored to the seller’s needs.
What are the neighbors like?
Is the neighborhood kid-friendly? Are there a lot of renters or mostly permanent residents? Is the neighborhood prominently retired people? If you are looking to get involved in the neighborhood community, these questions can provide valuable insight and can often be answered by the seller’s agent. Also take note of other visitors looking at the home when you’re there. Neighbors will often preview listings near their own home and they can give you some inside scoop on the local area.
How much do utilities usually run?
This question is an important part of your monthly budgeting, especially if you are moving from an apartment to a house. Although principle, interest, maintenance and taxes are easily available, utility estimates are only available from the owners. Ask the listing agent to see recent utility bills so you can have an idea of what you are getting into prior to making an offer.
How much traffic should I expect in this area?
Open houses are typically on the weekends, meaning that potential buyers will not get a valid idea of traffic during commute days. Many neighborhoods have that one street where commuters cut through to avoid traffic lights or school traffic. This question will not only give you an idea of the noise level to expect, but can also indicate safety precautions for your family¬– especially if you have young children.
Is there anything else I should know about the house?
Has the property been upgraded recently? Are there any structural problems? A seller’s disclosure will list any known structural problems or code violations. However, this doesn’t always cover the small oddities of a home like how the pantry door can sometimes squeak but a little oil every couple of weeks fixes it or other areas that may need some TLC. Each home has its own set of quirks and perks, so this open-ended question can provide some beneficial information for potential buyers.
What are your go-to questions for open houses? Share in the comments below!