What Questions Should You Ask At A House Showing?
A listing can tell you a lot about a house. You’ll see the basic facts and features, as well as descriptions of the property that highlight the best selling points of the home. Many listings include galleries of lovely photo displays of the home, but keep in mind you shouldn’t fall in love with a listing. Unless you’re house hunting remotely for the purpose of relocation, a listing can’t replace the importance of seeing a home in person. Requesting a showing or attending a scheduled open house is the best next step in your search for a home.
When touring the home there are some important questions you should ask before considering making an offer.
How many offers are there already?
You may already have a set price range and knowing how many offers have already been made will suggest where you stand in the demand for the home. If the agent seems to be working hard to sell you the home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there haven’t been any offers, but maybe that the seller hasn’t gotten offers at the right price yet. Your offer may be what the seller is hoping for, or your offer could drive the sale price up higher and out of your range.
How long has the property been on the market?
A property may have been just listed, or relisted, or may have been on the market for a long time. There are good reasons to learn the timeline of a listing. If a home has been on the market for a long time or has suddenly reappeared on the market, it may not necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with the home, but that perhaps it’s not priced correctly or that a previous sale fell through. The reasons a previous sale fell through may be due to a buyer’s financing or because of a problem with the home.
Are there disclosures?
If you want to find out potential problems with a property before making an offer, now is your chance to ask the listing agent about disclosures. Some disclosures can be red flags or deal breakers altogether. Some common disclosures include construction done without permits, zoning, repairs or renovations not done to code, leaks, lead paint, termites or pests, mold or hazardous materials like radon/mold/lead paint, etc. Not all disclosures are deal breakers but may reveal answers to other questions you may have.
Why are the sellers moving?
Selling a home doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with it. This question may have a very reasonable answer. Some families are growing and needing more space while others are becoming empty nesters and seeking one level floorplans for aging in place. The current low interest rates are an incentive for people to upsize or downsize. Some people may also be selling to relocate for work reasons. With low rates and low inventory, there are serious buyers out there even in the off season which is great news for sellers.
If asking these questions feels overwhelming, that is why having your own expert buyer’s agent with you in your home search is so strongly recommended. Your buyer’s agent can speak directly with the listing agent to not only get the answers but use their expertise and knowledge to evaluate the answers. Your agent can also dig deeper into records and history on the home that you may not know how to find. Having an expert on your side from the beginning will save you time and energy in your search.