Part of the excitement of house hunting is going to open houses. From sunny breakfast nooks where you can picture yourself sipping a morning cup of coffee to finding the master bathroom you’ve been dreaming of; this is your chance to get an up-close look at what may become your new home. But when everything is set up correctly, a well-staged home can steal your focus away from the things that might be potential deal breakers for you. To keep that focus and find the house that works for you and your family, it’s important to have a game plan going in. Consider making the following tasks and questions part of your open house repertoire.
General Questions to Ask at an Open House
If you’re considering the house as a contender, take a moment to get some more information from the hosting agent or sales associate. Ask the following questions to get a better idea of the whole picture:
- How long has the home been on the market?
- What is the expectation on price?
- Is this the home’s first open house?
- How has the open house traffic been today?
- What feedback have you received from agents?
- Have there been any offers?
- Are there any comparable homes listed?
Things to Do at an Open House
Jot down the measurements of your biggest pieces of furniture and bring this info with you, along with some measuring tape. You’ll use both to make sure your bigger items can fit in the house. And while you’re looking around, don’t be afraid to get a closer look at the storage spaces that are available. Open closet doors to get an idea of the closet’s depth. Open built-in cabinets and look in the bathroom vanities to see if they provide enough space to hold your things. Do the same in the kitchen and look inside the pantry and the cupboards to see if the setup will work with your pots and pans and other kitchen items.
Questions to Ask in Each Room at an Open House
As you move through each room in an open house, consider how you or your family will use the space. While you may have specific dream home requirements that are top of mind, there are some basic room-by-room questions to ask to keep your focus on track. Think about the hobbies and activities you or your family participate in. Is there enough storage space for everything? It’s also important to consider your growing or shrinking family needs. If you’re planning on adding to your brood, consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms there are and whether you need to have a bonus space that can adapt to your family’s needs. If your children have grown and moved out of the home, you may be focused on downsizing, but still need guest space available for overnight visitors. Another point of consideration is maintenance. For example, if you enjoy traveling and find yourself away from home often, consider the overall maintenance needs of the property and how much time is needed to keep everything in running order.
In addition to these specific considerations, we’ve created a list of general questions to consider while you move through each part of the home. While some of these questions may not be needed in a new construction home, this list is a great way to compare the overall benefits and value of the homes you are touring.
- Where does the property line begin and end?
- Are there any HOA regulations for the yard?
- What is the roof made of?
- How old is the roof?
- Are there hardwoods under the carpets?
- What are the dimensions of the room?
- Can I measure the room?
- Are the countertops sealed?
- How old are the appliances?
- Do the appliances stay in the house?
- Are there any known plumbing issues?
- How old is the plumbing?
- Where does the sewage go?
- What are the dimensions of the master bedroom?
- Can I measure the room?
In the Basement:
- Was there ever any flooding?
- Is there a dedicated storage area?
Heating and Cooling Systems:
- How old is the heating and cooling system?
- What is the average utility bill?
- What equipment does it have?
- Is it up-to-date on maintenance?
Are you ready to hit the road and start seeing some houses? Go prepared with the below checklist of questions to bring with you.
Open houses are a great way to get a better understanding of the house-hunting market in your area, and your real estate savvy will only sharpen with each tour you take. And don’t forget new construction homes have open houses, too, and many new construction neighborhoods have move-in models available. If you think you would like to tour a move-in ready or a new construction model home, check in with the team at Shea Homes® to see if there is an open house or an appointment time available near you!
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