Open House Questions
Date: January 13, 2016 Author: Tarah Harris
It’s almost open house season! But some of you have been looking all winter. So what happens if you think you hve finally found your new home. We know your first instinct is make an offer immediately but slow down, pump your brakes fall back, pause and stop.
Instead you need to gather your thoughts and ask the real questions.
“Are there any structural issues, code violations, or other disclosures I should know about?”
The seller is legally required to provide disclosures as part of the purchase process, but there’s no sure fire way the realtor hosting the open house will give you all the answers at this point. They may not even know, but is doesn’t hurt to ask, though. Any information you do glean will give you a clearer picture of what you’re dealing with.
“When was the house last updated?”
Most sellers will be eager to share information about anything that’s been updated. What they don’t mention, such as the roof or the storm windows, will give you an idea of what might need your attention.
“Has the property been in escrow?”
If the answer is yes, ask why it didn’t sell. If the inspection found damage or it appraised at a lower value than the asking price, this is important information that you might be able to use in the negotiation process. This may let you know if you should move onto another home.
“How long has it been on the market?”
Be sure to ask about price reductions as well. A longer time on the market and recent price reductions can give you a sense of how eager or motivated ( that is realtor talk) the seller is.
“Have there been any other offers?”
If the answer is yes, find out why they were rejected. This is a good opportunity to ask what is important to the seller. A quick closing? Cash? Finding out this information will give you some key insight fr later. It can even help you craft a strategy for negotiations.
“Are there any other costs of ownership?”
You’ll want to know about any applicable association dues, taxes, or assessments to get a clear picture of what your costs will be on top of the purchase price. Also be sure to ask about construction liens, tax liens, and any other claims on the property. You don’t want to get stuck paying for the previous owner’s unpaid HOA dues or other debts.
These are the important questions. But walk around the home a few times and keep your mind open. An open mind will allow for you to think objectively abou the house, which will allow you to ask as many questions as you can. Trust me a realtor would love a potential buyer to ask questions.