Julie Sagan's Blog
Open House 101: Rules to Follow & Questions to Ask
It might seem simple. Walk through the door, take a peek around, and ask a few questions. But an open house is much more than that. It’s an opportunity. It’s an interview between you and your future home. So what should you keep an eye out for? What should you ask? What should you wear? Where should you go? I’ve got you covered with perfect open house etiquette to ensure you get the most out of your experience.
Make sure you dress to impress. Remember, this is an interview. The seller and their real estate agents are looking for the perfect person to take care of the home they’ve cared for all this time. Dressing appropriately can make a great impression. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you’re really going to look around and stay awhile.
You may think, “this is an open house, so I have free reign to poke around…” Not so fast. This is still the seller’s home. It is important to see every nook and cranny, but ask permission before you start opening doors and looking in drawers. A door may be closed for a reason, so feel free to ask why, and feel free to ask permission to look inside. A little politeness may go a long way.
You won’t be the only ones looking at the house. Keep an eye on the competition, and listen to the questions everyone else is asking too! You may get an idea of who you’re up against, and the reasons why your fellow open house-goers are looking to buy.
Now it’s time for the questions. Before you go room to room, think big. Ask: Why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? Has the price fluctuated, or have offers been made? Ask to see the property disclosures, and follow up on any issues you might see.
Look around at your environment. Are you near a good school for the kids? Are there loud highways, or noisy neighbors that may disturb your peace? Where does the sun fall as it makes its way down?
As you make your way through the house, the real estate agent present should be willing to walk with you and answer any questions you may have. In each room, ask if any major renovations have been made. If there is carpet in the bedrooms or living rooms, ask how long it has been there, and what’s underneath in case you plan to remove it. Have any of the rooms been recently painted? As for the kitchens and bathrooms, this is where the water issues lie. Ask about water pressure, and if there have been any issues concerning water. If there is a basement, ask about mold and water issues there as well.
If the house you’re looking at has a yard, be sure to inquire about problem spots, pest control, and water flow for heavy rain periods.
The interview is coming to an end. You’re about to shake hands and move on. If you have any more questions and concerns, this is the time to ask them. Ask the agent if the sellers have a timeline so that you may make your decision wisely and in a timely fashion. You can feel great about being thorough and well-informed. This is a major decision after all, and real estate agents are here to help!