It's great to open houses when you're planning on buying a property. It even helps if the home is similar to what you're looking for but there are key questions to ask when touring these open houses to either the listing agent or the buying agent that may be sitting the property. Here are some key questions all buyers should ask when they're serious about purchasing a home.
#1. Are there any problems with the home?
Of course listing agents and even buyers agents that may be sitting the open house are not gonna wanna pour out all of the problems with the house immediately, that's what a home inspection is for, but the law does require real estate agents to disclose any structural problems or code violations. There could be major issues to the property and if you don't ask then you may not find out until you've already spent the money on a home inspection. It's best to ask any and all questions about the structural integrity of the property before placing an offer.
#2. Why is the owner selling?
This is a great question to help buyers get a good understanding of why the home is listed. This could be for a variety of reasons including job change, familial status change or there simply moving up or downsizing. This also could be a potential red flag if they're moving due to construction in the area, a change of the neighborhood or if the schools have gone downhill lately. If there's any hesitation on why the owner is selling this could be a red flag and something you may not want to get involved with.
#3. How long is the home been on the market?
This is fairly easy to figure out yourself but you can certainly just ask the listing agent while you're there. If the home is been on the market a long time there could be some issues with either pricing or the house itself. Ask the house is ever been taken off the market and relisted recently or if the listing agent has changed over the last 6 to 8 months. You can also ask if the property has had any offers and if it's been put back on the market due to financing issues or home inspection problems.
#4. How is the neighborhood?
This might be difficult for the listing agent to answer but it's still worth asking the question. Of course the listing agent's primary fiduciary duty is to the seller but they are required to list any major issues or problems with the home, this may or may not include the neighborhood as a whole. The listing agent may also have some inside information about positive changes to the neighborhood such as remodeling or rebuilding of older homes in the area, new development close by that may offer easier access to shops, restaurants, markets and coffeehouses etc. You'll also want to ask about these in amenities. How far is the local market? Where do people shop, buy groceries and do their banking?
#5. What is the average utility costs?
If this is something that the listing agent does not know offhand they can certainly find out the information from the seller and get back with you. It's good to know if the home has any major energy leaks or if it's highly energy efficient. This could be a great selling point or huge downfall.
#6. Has the home had any major remodeling?
Ask about renovations, additions and if there have been building permits with these remodeling projects. You'll also want to ask if there's ever been any mold, asbestos or lead paint in the home. Is the home located in a flood zone or is there an underground oil tank on the property?
If you're truly interested in the home these are great questions to ask before you get too involved. If you'd like to tour some open houses in the area this week or over the weekend please contact our office today to set up a scheduling or for a customized list of homes that meet your search criteria and price in the Portland real estate market.