Open houses serve many purposes, but one of the main functions is to answer a buyer's questions. Listing agents or sales associates are usually on hand to give insights about the home. Before attending your next open house, it's helpful to know what questions you want to ask before you go.
A Room-by-Room Guide of Questions:
- Kitchen. The kitchen can be a huge money trap if it needs an overhaul. If appliances look less than new, ask about the age, if they function or if they've ever been repaired or replaced. If the kitchen has had a remodel, don't hesitate to ask about the contractor or if it was a DIY project. It's important to confirm updates have been done by a professional. A job done by an eager-to-save homeowner may pose potential risks. Other questions are countertop care (will depend on material) and asking what the cabinets are made of.
- Baths. Unless the home is fairly new, you may want to inquire about the last time a bathroom received plumbing work. Other crucial factors are sewer lines or septic systems and whether the bathroom has ever had moisture damage or mold issues. For your own peace of mind, feel free to turn on faucets and check water flow or look for signs of leakage.
- Bedrooms. Probably the biggest factor in bedrooms is size and shape. You'll want to ask about room sizes and ask if it's okay to measure the space yourself.
- Garage. Garages are tricky spaces and may house some of your potential home's systems. Ask about the garage door and how it works, whether there is a heat source or if it gets really cold or hot, and find out the age of anything located in the garage.
- Additions. Like any work done in a home, it's critical to know about any additions. Find out if proper permits were obtained, find out who did the work, and ask for the age of the addition.
- General knowledge. Although going room by room is one way to approach information, it's beneficial to consider a few general items. Some things to inquire about include the windows and whether they are single or double pane. Find out the age of the water heater and its capacity. Ask about heating/cooling systems, the yard and drainage, basements, plumbing, the front door, the legality of outbuildings, past electrical work, and the roof. If a room is carpeted, find out if there are hardwoods underneath.
Work with a Real Estate Agent that Knows What to Ask
It's easy to forget to ask a question while visiting an open house. A good real estate knows to ask about everything from the cost of utilities to why a seller has listed their home for sale. One of the best steps you can take when buying a house is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows what to ask.
The more information you have up front, the fewer surprises you'll have down the road. If you have questions regarding a home for sale, have your list ready before your next open house.