Holding open houses is a common real estate practice aimed at giving an agent the opportunity to market the listed home and meet prospective buyers. Open houses can provide buyers the opportunity to get information about the homes and the greater housing market, but only if they ask the right questions.
Below are some questions you may want to ask:
- Are you the listing agent for this house? Agents with multiple listings often arrange for a colleague or assistant to host an open house. Try not to assume that the person showing the home is the most knowledgeable about the house and neighborhood.
- How long has the home been on the market? Well-priced homes in good condition generally sell in a short period of time. Unless the local market is weak, you will want to know why a particular home is not selling. Are there hidden defects? Is it overpriced? Are the sellers requiring something that may seem unreasonable as a condition of the sale?
- Have the sellers received any offers? The listing agent may only have permission to release certain details, but if the sellers rejected offers that were too low, had contingencies or conditions, you should find out before you have a similar experience.
- Are any of the furniture or fixtures being sold with the home? If you’re thinking of buying the home, there is no better time to ask whether the seller would be willing to include any furniture or fixtures that you desire.
- Are there any special costs attached to the property? Is there a homeowner’s association and if so what are the fees and dues? Are there particular tax assessments? Are there any natural hazard issues? Are there any hidden costs of owning this home?
- How does this house compare to others on this street? The local agent may be able to speak about recent sales in the neighborhood and possibly interior design ideas seen in similar homes.
Happy House Hunting!