Questions to Ask at an Open House

Are you headed out to your first open house or your 50th? Do you know what to do when you get there? Some of us just wander through the homes quickly, maybe because we know exactly what we’re looking for, or maybe we don’t know that we should ask questions. At Village Communities, with condos in Columbus, Ohio, we picked our realtors’ brains to come up with a list of questions you should ask at an open house. Asking these questions gives you detailed information about the home and can help you decide if you want to make an offer on the property.

What updates have been made to the home?
Some updates are readily visible, like paint or new, shiny appliances. But other updates might be harder to see. What is the age of the roof, air conditioner, cabinets, or existing appliances? Gather as many details as you can, so that you know what might need to be replaced if you make an offer and it’s accepted. Don’t rule out a home due to paint colors, cabinets, or other easily changed items.

How soon do the sellers want to close?
Just like you have a timeline, so does the seller. Some sellers want to close quickly, while others want it to take longer. The more flexible you are, the easier the buy might happen for you. You might have an advantage if you ask this question and understand the seller’s motive and timetable for selling.

How long has the home been on the market?
Knowing this information can help you gauge interest in the home, and whether it has had offers that fell through or the listing agent might tell you if there are offers possible. Information can be found online, but an agent will have the most current information.

What can you tell me about this property?
While this seems like a “duh” question, it actually has a lot of merit. What you’re really doing is listening to what the agent tells you and doesn’t tell you. You may find that the agent has so much to discuss about the house, but if the conversation is quick and vague, then do some serious sleuthing. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, ask if there are any problems with the home. The home may be more trouble than it’s worth.

What’s the neighborhood like here?
You may already know the area you want to live in and are only looking for homes in those neighborhoods, but if you’re new to the area or looking outside of what you know, this is an important question. There are some things a realtor can’t tell you due to the Fair Housing Act, but listen carefully. Not only look at the house, but do some investigating in the neighborhood. This is a good time to go to a nearby restaurant or store and ask this question too. Be sure to ask about traffic in the neighborhood, especially since open houses tend to be on weekends. What is the street like during the week?

Just remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to finding a condo. Asking the agent questions allows them to showcase the home, and share what they know. Engaging in a thoughtful conversation could give you the edge when making an offer, because the selling agent will know you are serious about the home. Plus, you’ve made a connection with them. We’re here to answer all of your questions and make your dreams of owning your new home become reality.