Attending an open house as a prospective buyer is an important step in the homebuying process. It's your chance to see the house in person and get a feel for everything. After you walk out of the house, you should ask yourself if you can truly picture you and your family living there.
But that's not the only question you should ask while you're at an open house. In fact, you will want to attend your next home showing with numerous questions to ensure the house you're looking at suits your current and future needs.
How long has it been on the market?
When searching for a home online, many services will often provide information regarding the time a property has spent on the market. The same applies if you ask this question to your realtor to look at the multiple listing service.
However, you should discuss this information more in-depth with your agent, because they can shed more light as to why the house has been available for a long or short amount of time.
For example, perhaps the home was going to be sold but a prospective buyer's financials fell through at the last minute, or there may even be instances where the house has been available for only a short amount of time but is already garnering tons of interest. This information matters because it will help make a decision if you're deciding to make an offer.
What has the price been?
The original asking price of a home will more likely than not differ from the closing price. As such, you will want to ask how many times the price has changed, and why. If the seller's agent goes into great detail about the fluctuations, it may be a signal that the asking price is flexible.
Use this to your advantage and make a competitive offer.
Why is the house for sale?
Everyone moves for different reasons, whether it's for a new job offer or to simply experience something new. Whatever it may be, you should try to find out.
If the seller's agent wastes no time explaining why the house is for sale, this is good news. If, however, the realtor hesitates to answer your question, it may be a sign of something more serious.
For instance, the house may be in a bad neighborhood, the school system is subpar or the neighbors simply can't be controlled. If the sellers couldn't stand to live in the house, then you might not be able to after deciding to move in.
Even if the house resembles your dream home, pick up on any clues that may reveal larger issues, some of which may have to with the the structure was built. In an ideal world, the sellers should provide you with all the paperwork, but if for some reason you don't get a comprehensive picture, there may be structural issues that require a home inspection service to come out.
What are some other costs?
No matter where you live, you will have to pay utilities. According to Trulia, some buyers are shocked at how much utilities may cost while living in a home. Ask the sellers if you can see recent bills so you can get an idea.
Elsewhere, you'll benefit by finding out the last time when some aspects of the house were updated, such as the roof, appliances and internal wiring. You may have to spend more money to get your new home up to date.
What is the neighborhood like?
You want to do find out all you can when it comes to discussing the neighborhood. If you have a family, find out where the nearest parks are, if it's safe for children to spend time outside and how the local school system performs. Likewise, you'll want to know what amenities are nearby, such as restaurants and nightlife.
These are only some of the important questions you should ask the next time you visit an open house for a home you're interested in buying. You want to find out as much information as possible before making an offer, and if everything goes well, buying the home.