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Avoid Open House Woes with These 10 Important Questions

Open houses are perfect for viewing your next potential home in person. Viewing a house in person is the only way to determine if the property is worth your time. Although it may appear perfect on online listing sites, seeing it with your own two eyes can shed light on its true condition. Still, touring the house in person is only half the battle. It is vital that you come prepared.

Asking sellers and real estate agents the right questions can shed further light on if a property is right for you. However, figuring out what questions to ask isn’t always clear-cut. We’ve compiled a list of the most important questions to ask during an open house to avoid any woes in the future.

1. How many offers have been made?

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Knowing if there have been any offers made on the house could benefit you in many ways. First, if you’re interested in the property, knowing other offers are on the table could allow you to formulate an even better offer. On the other hand, if you’re not that interested in the house, the knowledge could help you avoid a bidding war and help you move on to another property. Lastly, the more offers made on a particular home, the more valuable it probably is, and the more likely it’s worth your time.

2. Why are the sellers looking to move?

This particular question is important to ask during open houses. Knowing the true intentions of the sellers could help you in more ways than one. First, if the seller is moving because of the house or neighborhood, that’s a huge red flag. Second, if the seller is moving for another reason, such as a job opportunity in another location, it tells you how motivated they are to sell. This could swing in your favor, which means you may have more wiggle room in negotiating the price of the home.

3. Has the asking price fluctuated at all?

While you can figure out if an asking price on a house has fluctuated by looking at listing sites, asking the seller’s agent directly could allow them to explain why. For instance, if the seller needs to move quickly for one reason or another, the fluctuation in the price may reflect that, allowing you to negotiate the price further. Additionally, the longer a house sits on the market, the more likely it’ll experience price fluctuation at some point.

4. How long has the house been on the market?

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Another essential question to ask during open houses is to inquire about how long the property has been on the market. The seller’s agent will more than likely put this information into context. For instance, although a house sitting on the market for a while may seem suspicious, it could be for several reasons. One such reason is that the seller was negotiating with a prospective buyer, but the buyer’s financing fell through at the last minute.

5. What potential issues could affect the house?

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Flat-out asking about potential issues on a property could give the seller a chance to be honest upfront. After making an offer, you’ll likely conduct a home inspection that’ll turn over any current or future issues; however, asking the seller in the beginning about these issues is an excellent way to determine their trustworthiness. Ask about structural, electrical, and plumbing problems and whether the building is up to code.

6. What is the seller’s timeline?

Most often, a seller’s motivation to sell and their timeline may seem at odds. Knowing their specific timeline is an excellent way to determine how serious they are about selling. If they are in a hurry, they will most likely give you a shorter timeline, whereas the timeline may be extended if they’re not in such a hurry, the timeline may be extended. You can also use this information to match up with your timeline. If you’re looking to move into a new house as soon as possible, then you’ll likely want to find a seller that’s looking to sell right away.

7. What is the neighborhood like?

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One often overlooked question during open houses is asking about the neighborhood itself. While you don’t want to get stuck with a dud house, you also don’t want to get a home in a bad area. Ask about the neighbors and what kind of people they are. Is it a family-friendly neighborhood? Or does the neighborhood cater to more older members of the community?

8. When were the home’s systems last updated?

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While it may be obvious the last time a home’s wallpaper or appliances were updated, it’s much harder to determine the age of the property’s systems by eye. This includes the electrical system and the home’s air conditioning and heating systems. Ask the seller directly about the last time these things were updated. It’s not a bad idea to even inquire about the last time the home’s roof was updated.

9. Is there an HOA?

In today’s day and age, many homes are part of a homeowners association (HOA). These HOAs often require fees, and their level of involvement in a neighborhood varies greatly. Since HOAs set many rules all homeowners in a particular area must follow, it’s a good idea to figure out if you’ll need to adhere to them.

10. Are there contingencies the seller won’t accept?

Knowing about any deal breakers a seller may have before submitting an offer is a great way to ensure your offer stands out above the rest. Ask the seller and their agent if there are any contingencies they won’t accept. Contingencies could include an appraisal contingency (double-checking the property’s value before buying it), a home inspection contingency (purchasing the house only after a home inspection), or more.

Getting help with open houses

If you’re looking to buy a house, having a real estate agent by your side is the only way to guarantee you won’t face woes down the line. Are you ready to begin touring open houses? The Casagrande Team is prepared to help. The agents at Casagrande serve clients in New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods. Contact The Casagrande Team today.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels


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