If you're like many home buyers, your search includes visiting a few open houses. Seeing a property in person is the best way to ascertain whether or not it will meet your needs and if the condition meets your expectations. Since you took the time to attend you should make the most of your visit and get answers to important questions. Here are 4 questions you should ask at the next open house you attend:
1. How long has the house been on the market? You'll want to know if the property is new to the market or whether it's been sitting a while. The time it's been on the market will give insight to any offer strategy you may be thinking about. Sellers of a home new to the market may be less willing to accept a lower price than a seller that has been on the market a while.
2. Is there a seller's disclosure available? Most homes that are owner-occupied will have a seller's disclosure. Whether at the property or via email, the answers to a variety of questions will give you insight to any potential maintenance that you'll need to plan for. The property condition will also be factor in any offer you're considering. For example, if the water heater is 10 years old, it will likely need to be replaced soon. Conversely, if the roof is 3 years old, there is no need to worry about a roof replacement any time soon under normal wear and tear conditions.
3. What is the final sales price range of similar homes near by and about how long were they on the market? Keep in mind, the list price is just that. You'll want to know what similar homes actually sold for to inform your offer decision.
4. What is the list price range of similar homes currently under contract and about how long were they on the market? Use this information to decide if this house could get an offer soon at its current list price (even if you think it's overpriced).
Any agent sitting an open house should be able to answer these basic questions, so don't be afraid to ask.