As someone who is serious about acquiring a new home, you should approach open houses with the mindset of a serious investor, not a window shopper. You want to leave an open house with all your questions answered and as much vital information as possible help you make the best decision.
So how do you ensure your open house visit is a productive one? Pay close attention to two things:
What to Ask
Buyers usually show up at an open house having already done their research and, therefore, prepared their questions. But are they the most helpful ones?
Here are some questions you should consider:
What are the HOA restrictions?
Has the seller done a property tax appeal?
When was the house built?
Have there been any recent renovations or repairs?
How many offers have been made?
How eager is the seller to sell?
How long has the property been on the market? (If it’s been on the market for a while, why?)
What are the neighbors like?
What and where are the schools? Are they rated?
What to Do
First things, first.
Bring an appetite for fresh baked cookies, or other delicious treats, as real estate agents know you will be looking forward to them.
First of all, be up front about your representation if you’re already working with an agent, especially if the host is not the listing agent or the seller. Chances are this agent is in search of potential buyer clients.
Check for damage and disrepair, indoor and outdoor.
Don’t settle for interviewing the agent showing the house or the seller if they’re present. Get some more answers without asking your questions out loud—even answers to questions you haven’t thought to ask.
Professional photography and some clever editing can make a property look a lot better than it really does. An open house is your opportunity to assess the home’s actual condition; any potential defects should be factored into your offer price.
Assess the windows. Flaking paint, misaligned sashes, and condensation from air leaks could mean you will need to have these windows replaced soon.
See if there’s any water damage. Warped baseboards, stained ceilings, mold, and musty smells are telltale signs.
Watch for cracks, gaps, and sags. Noticeable fractures in the ceiling, drywall, or floor, as well as gaps around window frames or exterior doors and sagging or uneven floors are good indicators of foundation problems.
Test functions. Open cabinets, doors, windows, and drawers. Run the faucets and check the water pressure.
Gauge potential renovation needs: Repairs and home improvements can eat into your finances, so take careful notes of any urgent renovation needs like floors, fixtures, or roofing. Determine as well whether you will need to spend for major repainting, retiling, or recladding projects.
Pro-tip: Ask for permission to take pictures for further reference and ask follow-up questions, if you have any.
You’re almost home. But first, get serious advice for a serious investment.
Contact Team Clancy today!