Kathy Kelley's Blog
If you're searching for a new home open houses can present many learning opportunities. It's your chance to gather information--not only about the particular home you're touring, but also about buying homes in general. It's also your chance to get used to working with real estate agents to learn what they can offer you. Many people arrive at an open house with an open mind. This isn't a bad thing, but it is good to be prepared with some questions for the agent. In this article, we'll talk about some important questions that will help you make the most informed real estate decisions as possible. But first, let's talk open house preparation in general.
Open House EtiquetteMany people expect to be pounced upon by an agent at an open house like a salesman in a furniture store. However, you'll most likely find that the agent is hands-off at the open house, letting you take a look around unbothered. Here are some tips for good open house etiquette to leave a good impression as a potential buyer.
- Sign in to the guestbook. Or, if you do decline, do it politely
- Ask for permission before you take photos
- Ask the real estate agent your questions casually and give them time to speak with other guests--interrogating the agent will make it an uncomfortable meeting for everyone
- Save probing questions or criticism until you leave. You'll get a chance to speak with the agent again, but don't want to seem rude at your first meeting.
Top Five Questions
- Why are the owners selling the home? This one question will give you several details about the home. If they are selling because of the neighbors or problems with the home this question will give you insight into those important buying factors.
- Has the listing price changed? Fluctuation in the price of the home can mean the seller is on a timeline or that the house isn't receiving any offers at the original price. This information could mean that there is some flexibility in the price of the home.
- Are there any problems with the home? Most states require the seller to disclose problems with the house. There are many issues that could affect the value of a home that aren't in plain sight, such as plumbing and electrical work. Don't be afraid to ask when the last time the roof was repaired or when any other major work was done on the house.
- What is the neighborhood like? If you aren't familiar with the area you're moving into this is a very important question to ask. Real estate agents should be experts on the area they work in and will be able to give you information about noise levels, schools, traffic, and so on.
- What is the cost of utilities? Everyone uses different amounts of electricity and water. That being said, each home also has its own level of efficiency. If the home has outdated lighting and appliances or if the faucets let out a high volume of water, you might be surprised at how much your future utility bills will be.