9 Essential Questions to Ask When Attending an Open House

open house tipsOpen houses are great opportunities to see a potential home and speak directly with a seller’s agent. It might be tempting to ignore the already-busy agent and check out the house for yourself, but you’re at a greater advantage if you ask the right questions.

Here are 9 questions you should consider asking when you visit an open house!

  1. How many offers have been made? Ask this question at your own discretion. If the agent looks suspiciously elated, it could be because they learned that an offer is coming in at any given moment. If any offers have been made, they’ll more than likely let you in on the information, hoping that you might decide to bid as well.
  2. How has the price been? You can more than likely find this information online, but the seller’s agent might go ahead and explain the changes to you and give you the reasons behind the changes in price, if there are any. You might find out that the price has dropped because the seller has to or wants to move on a relatively tight schedule. This type of information can clue you in that the list price is somewhat flexible.
  3. How long has the property been on the market? This type of information can easily be found online, but the seller’s agent can help put this information in the proper context. You might think that the property has been on the market for a long time because there haven’t been any bites from prospective homebuyers, but the agent could tell you that the sellers received an offer from a buyer whose financing fell through. This could be very useful in deciding if you should make an offer or not.
  4. Why are the sellers moving? This is always a great question to ask the agent. If the sellers are moving because they want to relocate closer to their family, then you probably have nothing to worry about. However, if the sellers are moving because the house is situated in an unsafe region, the schools are awful, or if the neighbors are noisy, then you have some valuable information that could very well sway your decision.
  5. When was the house last updated? You can see certain updates around the house like new cabinetry or updated, sleek appliances in the kitchen. Some other very important features, however, can be much more difficult to identify. Be sure to find out the age of the roof, the wiring, and the plumbing, if possible. You will definitely want to know those facts before jumping into buying the home, if you want it.
  6. Are there any issues that come with the house? The seller is required to tell potential buyers about any issues that are packaged with the house including any known structural problems or code violations. You can also request a written seller’s disclosure, and, if you’re lucky, a chatty agent could reveal more in person, giving you an extra advantage in the event you want to put an offer down on the house in question.
  7. How much do the utilities cost? This is an especially vital question to ask if you’re going from renting your place to buying a home. You’d be surprised how much paying the utilities can impact your budget. Be sure to ask for this information before you even consider making an offer.
  8. What’s the seller’s timeline? Does the seller want to leave after the school year ends? Are they keen on moving quickly because they’ve already found a home to live in elsewhere? The more you find out about what the sellers want, the more easily you can work around what they want and put together an offer they will have a hard time refusing – all while getting a good deal on the price.
  9. What are some good eateries around here? Want to really get an idea on what your (potentially) new neighborhood is like? Ask for directions to a local eatery or a coffee shop, if the town has them! You’ll get a good feel for the locals, the neighborhood, and what your life could look like in the future.

As you ask the seller’s agent these questions, take care to not give away more than you want about your own situation. Remember to be discreet about your finances and how much you like the home; this will be a benefit when the time comes to bargain for a good price.

Homebuyers need an agent they can depend on and trust. If you don’t have an agent yet in your quest for the perfect home, call The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. Learn about us and view our listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to get started on your search today!