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Get the Most From Real Estate Open Houses

June 6th, 2012 | Categories: Moving Tips | Tags: , ,

If you are ready to jump right in with moving and storage, then open houses are likely in your near future. As helpful as these events are, most potential home buyers get so wrapped up in the excitement of buying a home that they forget to look past the staging and make the open house really work in their favor. If you are a serious shopper, there are things you should be looking for and questions you should be asking while you are there.

Questions to Ask the Realtor

Some realtors will follow you around like you are a new puppy that may have an accident while others offer a more laid back approach and allow you to browse. Don’t be afraid to ask one that hovers to give you a little space and do not feel as though you are a burden to grab a vacant one to answer important questions.

Chances are good that you won’t remember everything you want to ask when you get there. Go ahead and write them down in a notebook and take a pen with you to take notes. Just a few questions to ask include:

  • Why is the house being sold now?
  • How motivated is the seller?
  • Have there been any offers?
  • How long has the house been listed at this price?
  • Is there a list of comps available?
  • What can you tell me about the school district?

Things to Look For

If you are like many others, the neighborhood may be just as important to you as the home. Before you even waste your time going to the open house, you may want to drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day.

When you arrive, it is easy to get wrapped up in how the home is decorated, what snacks are available and how the natural light beams through the kitchen. However, there are other things that you need to be looking at, and do not forget to take notes. Having a measuring tape handy isn’t a bad idea either.

  • Water Stains – You should look for these in the bathroom, kitchen and basement on floors, ceilings and walls. If the home is two levels, look in the room under the upstairs bathroom as well. You also want to check for water stains in cabinets beneath the sinks.
  • Water Pressure – Don’t be afraid to turn the faucets on, if water pressure is important to you.
  • Uneven Floors – Sometimes, it is hard to spot uneven floors, but if there is tiling or wood floors, you can often see if it is uneven where it lines up against the wall.
  • Roof – This is a costly expense. The last thing you want is to buy a home that needs a roof that you didn’t budget for.
  • Door Placement – Are the doors in practical areas for you? If you have a dog, you might want to make sure one opens to the backyard.
  • Windows – Is there any air leaking through the windows. Are they new or old? Is there any condensation? How do the screens look?
  • Foundation – Is the house on a pad? Is there a basement or crawl space? If it is on concrete, are there any holes?

Before you start getting wrapped up in the excitement of moving and storage, make sure you have all the answers you need on a new home to make an educated buying decision.

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