Attending open houses is a great way to find out more information about your next potential home.
In addition to viewing the property’s features in detail, an open for inspection also gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the neighbourhood and learn more about the local market.
Your time at an open for inspection will be brief, so you want to use your time wisely to ask the right questions that will give you details that can distinguish this property from others you have seen.
Here are a few questions to ask the listing agent or seller.
How long has the property been on the market?
This is one of the first questions to ask, because it can indicate local market conditions and help you negotiate a lower offer.
If the property has been sitting for several months, it may be on the verge of a price reduction.
Has the property been in escrow?
If the property has been in escrow and didn’t sell, you will want to know the reason.
Find out if there was an appraisal issue or if damage was made apparent after a home inspection.
If inspections were conducted when the house was in escrow, ask to see copies of these and find out if further inspections will be needed if you make an offer of your own.
Do you have any disclosure packets or inspection reports available?
Although these reports may not be available at the time of the open house, many real estate agents will provide a link to the inspection report on their website.
Why are the owners selling?
An agent may be unable or unwilling to answer this question, but it’s worth asking.
You may find out details about the property or neighbourhood that could be used to make an offer.
Have you had any recent offers?
This will let you know if you have any competition.
If the sellers have rejected past offers, try to find out why so that you can create an offer of your own that’s more likely to be approved.
What are the property’s strengths and weaknesses?
If the seller is present, this is a good question to ask.
Find out what the seller likes most and least about the property.
In many cases, they will focus on the positive rather than disclose the property’s weaknesses, but there may be some honesty or useful information that comes through in the answer.
Many sellers like to talk about their property, particularly if it holds sentimental value.
Are there any liens on the property?
If there are any tax liens, construction liens, or other financial claims on the property you’ll want to find this out before you make an offer.
The real estate agent, seller, or both may be present at the open for
These questions are a good starting point for collecting more information about the property, but you’ll also want to take any answers with a grain of salt as the seller’s primary objective will be to make the property look its best.
Take your time to view the house and walk around the neighbourhood, collecting contact information if you have further questions.