Open houses can be a great way to jump start your home search. Many homebuyers however, fail to capitalize on the opportunity. Savvy homebuyers know to come armed with a number of open house questions to ask the seller’s agent. By being proactive, you can identify potential issues early on, and make an educated decision on your home purchase without wasting your precious time on a dud. Find out if a potential home is right for you by getting the answers to these important open house questions.
How many offers are on the table?
The number of bids on a home can give you insight into the desirability of a home. If the home has lots of bids, you may have to rethink your bidding strategy. If the home isn't getting any offers, it's worth it to know the reasons behind its unpopularity. Pay attention to the seller's body language. Is the seller seem too eager about showing the home? Trust your intuition and dig deeper if you suspect any hidden issues.
Was the price adjusted?
Has the listing price changed since you first viewed the house online? While your agent can tell you the pricing history of the home, it is up to you to ask the seller’s agent why. Maybe the seller had to adjust for a home issue or perhaps they are on a moving deadline. If the price has been reduced a number of times, you may have a motivated seller on your hands.
Why are the sellers moving?
The most obvious answer may be that they are simply relocating, but it's worth finding out the reasons behind the move. Perhaps the sellers are downsizing, or inherited the home. However, if they are moving because of noisy neighbors, high crime rates or poor schools, these are things you'll want to know about as a potential buyer.
How long has the home been on the market?
Has the home been listed for a long time? This is a sign that a home could be overpriced or has some issues that are worth mentioning. Are there major problems with the home that the seller is not addressing? Asking the reason behind this can provide you with a lot of insight on hidden issues or reasons outside of the condition of the home.
When Was the House Last Updated?
This is a great question to ask any seller's agent because it gives you insight into the maintenance history of the home. While it's easy to tell if appliances are brand new or if the walls have been recently painted, it's harder to determine a roof's age or changes to the electrical and plumbing systems. Nice updated features allow you to get more for your buck, as you won't have to worry about tackling them in the near future.
What is the Cost of Utilities?
This is an important question many homebuyers forget to ask during an open house. You do not want to spend $600 to heat a small house because energy efficiency is something the home is lacking. Be sure to price out your monthly utilities into your budget, or risk a big surprise when the bills start piling in.
What is the Neighborhood Like?
Open houses are a great place to find out more about a potential neighborhood. How are the neighbors? Are the schools well regarded? Are the streets safe? Are the plenty or nearby amenities? These are all important things that factor into a good home purchase. If the neighborhood sounds too good to be true, ask around the neighborhood for a second opinion. Sometimes a seller will tell you what you want to hear versus the truth.