Knowing which questions to ask will help you find the right house for you, and will also get the seller to accept your offer.
When looking for a house for sale to buy, attending an open house is one of the ways that you can assess the actual condition of a property. Of course, there are some things that you can’t tell about the house just by looking at it. Here are some questions that you should ask during an open house.
“Why is the house for sale?”
Most of the time, the agent who is trying to sell the home refuses to divulge this information. Still, you should ask anyway; you never know if they might accidentally let slip why the owners are selling. Any information that you can get with this question can be used to your advantage: for instance, if the owner is getting divorced, it means that they are under a tight deadline, and may be pressed for money.
“Have the owners been trying to sell for a long time?”
The longer a house has been sitting in the market, the lower its value gets. If the house you are eyeing has been for sale for quite some time and has not received any offers yet, they might entertain an offer that’s a bit lower than their asking price.
“Has the property received any offers yet?”
Finding this out will let you know if you need to worry about competition and, if so, how many you are competing with. Also, try to find out if the seller has turned down any offers made and why. This can help you construct your offer according to their needs and give it a better chance of being accepted.
“Does the property have any liens?”
There’s nothing worse than buying the house of your dreams, and then finding out later that the property comes with liens attached. Ask the agent right away if the house has any construction or tax liens, as well as if there are any creditors or homeowner associations laying claim on the property for unpaid debt.
“Does ownership of the property come with other costs?”
If you are buying a house, you should get in touch with the homeowners association and ask if there are certain rules you might come in conflict with, such as pet ownership. If you are looking at a condo for sale, ask them about the association dues, as well as any other assessments and taxes required for ownership. Knowing these beforehand will guarantee that there are no surprise costs once you own the property.
Be sure to get everything on paper, particularly issues concerning liens and fees. Also, even if the agent or seller has made assurances that the house has no major issues, get a professional to do an inspection anyway.
Jillian Cariola, Writer
(cover image by Daniel Wildman)