An open house is a perfect time to see houses without any pressure and take as much time as you want to view it whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve owned homes before.
However, one of the most significant benefits is the chance to talk with the listing agent versus going through your agent to ask the listing agent questions. There aren’t any other opportunities to work directly with the listing agent, so here are ten questions to ask the listing agent while you can.
1. Why are the Sellers Moving?
Learning why the sellers are moving can provide you with a lot of information. The information can help you understand how to work out your offer and decide on the house.
For example, if the sellers need to move because the husband got a new job, they may be pressed to move fast. If you can offer a fast closing date, they may take your offer over a higher bid with a later closing date.
But, if they’re moving for better schools or the home has downsides, the listing agent should be honest, which could help you make your decision.
2. Has the Asking Price Changed?
If the asking price has changed multiple times, it could indicate something’s wrong with the house or the area. Sometimes the price changes for other reasons, such as the seller’s timeline changing or the seller wanting to sell the house faster.
Knowing the reasons can help you form your offer so that it’s most attractive for the seller. If you’re a first-time home buyer, your real estate agent will walk you through these steps.
3. How Long has the House been Listed?
While you can find this information from the listing, hearing it from the seller’s agent gives it more context. For example, the agent can tell you why it’s been on the market for a while if it’s been listed long.
For example, maybe there was an offer that fell through at the last minute, or they just listed it, and the agent can tell you how much interest there has been in the home.
4. Has the Seller Received any Offers?
Knowing if the seller received any offers is essential information. If the agent says the seller has received a handful of offers, it’s a sign that the seller is selective, and it may be hard to get your offer accepted.
Use this time also to find out if there are any current offers the seller is considering. If there are, you will have to offer more than they are to win the bid. It’s good to know your competition.
5. What is the Seller Including in the Sale?
Knowing what the seller plans to include in the sale is important. While all he must include is the house itself and anything permanently attached, they may offer things like window treatments, appliances, or furniture.
Knowing what the seller is including can help you form your offer. If they already include certain items you wanted, you don’t have to include them in your negotiations, which can simplify the process.
6. What’s the Area Like?
When you buy a home, you buy into a neighborhood too. While you can get a feel for the area yourself, it’s nice to hear from someone familiar with the home what the area is like. You can ask questions about the amenities nearby if you aren’t familiar with the area. You can also ask about the schools, churches, and other amenities.
7. When Does the Seller Need to Move?
Knowing when the sellers need to be out can help you understand if the home fits within your timeline. If you have already sold your house, you might be unable to entertain a seller who needs a longer timeline, for example.
If the seller is in a hurry, you might be able to bid a lower amount, especially if you are a first-time home buyer and don’t have a house to sell. Sometimes the offer is more about the big picture than the price alone, and if you can move in faster, they may take your offer.
8. How much are the Taxes?
You can find out about the taxes on the listing, but an agent may have more information about them. Ask how often they’ve increased, how often they reassess the area, and if anyone in the area recently fought the taxes.
Real estate taxes play a big role in affording the home, so understanding what you’re getting into before signing a contract can help you decide.
9. Has the Seller Updated the house?
Most listing agents will happily show you areas the seller updated recently. They may be things you wouldn’t have noticed yourself and could sway your decision. This also allows you to inspect the area more closely to determine if the work was done well or if you want to look elsewhere because it looks like a DIY job.
10. Did you do a Market Analysis?
Sellers can ask whatever they want for a house, but buyers will only get as much as the market dictates when it comes to financing. If the agent already did a market analysis, ask if they’ll share it with you so you can see how the house compares to others in the area. This also helps you determine where to start your offer if you bid on the house.
Attending open houses is one of the best ways to find a home, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Take in all the information the agent offers so you can make the most of your time visiting homes.You can usually learn much more from an open house than from looking at homes with your agent, so take advantage of them when buying a home.