When someone wants to sell a house in the real estate market they will have an open house. Open houses are important for many reasons, in this list the Los Angeles-based real estate company the ‘Local Records Office’ has created a simple but effective to-do list.
Has The Property Been on the Market Long?
Sometimes, you can judge how aggressive a seller will be by how long the home has been listed. If it has been on the market for a while then perhaps the sellers will be more willing to entertain a lower bid or cover the closing costs.
Has the Price Been Going Up and Down?
Has there recently been a price decrease? You may want to find out why the price has changed. It could be that another interested party’s financing fell through and now they are behind on their moving timeline. If it hasn’t moved at all and the house has been listed for a while, the seller may be firm on the asking price.
Has the House Had Many Offers? or Any at All?
If there have only been a couple bites, but nothing has panned out the seller might be more flexible. If there are current offers then you likely need to prepare for a bidding war, if you really want the home.
How Desperate is the Seller?
If this is their second home and the seller is not actually preparing for a moving process, they may be content with waiting for the right offer to come along. On the other hand, a seller needing to move by a specific date for a job offer across the country might work with you on the price, especially if you are pre-approved, and they know it is a sure thing.
Has the Home Been Remodeled?
You can walk through and see visible projects, such as new cupboards and updated fixtures. However, maybe the home has a brand new central air-conditioning unit or hot water heater you should know about.
Is the Seller Moving Because the House is Giving Him or Her Problems?
They could be moving for work or perhaps their family is expanding and outgrowing it. On the other hand, maybe cars have been getting broken into in the neighborhood or they are disappointed with the schools that the home is zoned for. The agent probably won’t tell you, but you may be able to tell by their reaction if they are being truthful.
Are There Any Problems With the House?
As a buyer, you are going to be told about code violations or structural problems. However, if you are in a time crunch yourself, you might not want to wait for this information to make a decision.
Are the Utility Bills High?
Utility bills can really weigh heavily on your decision, especially if you are going from a studio apartment to a two- or three-bedroom home. Alternatively, the home could have a number of energy-efficient upgrades that keep the utility bills lower than anticipated.
How is the Neighborhood Crime Rate?
Don’t expand on this by offering any extra information. You don’t want to imply that you are looking for a tight-knit community with lots of kids or that you are hoping for a quiet senior you will barely see. Let the agent do the talking without you providing any hints to guide their answer.
Are Any Amenities Within Walking Distance?
They should be able to tell you about the closest café, market, park, etc. You may find that there is a bar with a patio and live music at the end of the road, which may be great for some people, but you could be concerned about how sound carries at night. If you work at 5 am, you don’t want to listen to a band all night through your open window.
Buying a home is a huge decision. An open house gives you the chance to explore the home, but it should also be viewed as an opportunity to find out valuable information that should be considered in your decision.
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