Think Before You Ink: The Top Questions to Ask During an Open House
Love is blind, and when you fall in love with a home, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and leave common sense at the front door. You can even already visualize where your favorite furniture will go.
The pressure’s on and there are other potential buyers at the open house who seem interested too. Hold fire for a moment, and be sure to challenge the seller or their agent about some specifics.
Here’s everything you need to ask.
What’s the Neighborhood Like?
Choosing the right location is essential. If you’re planning a family or have children, you’ll need to ask about local schools. Find out how far they are away. Do your research into the local communities.
You’ll also need to ask about local amenities such as parks or shopping malls. It could be this is your dream home but if running or outdoor sports are your passion, then you’ll need to be sure living there is going to work for you.
Check for noise levels from any local roads and make sure the street isn’t used as a short-cut during busy times of the day.
It’s also wise to ask about the neighbors and if there have been any issues at all. Take your time to make sure those living close by have maintained their gardens and property well.
When Was the Kitchen Last Renovated?
The kitchen is usually seen as the most important room in the house. They’re seen as the heart of the home. Although it may be obvious from the decor that the kitchen hasn’t been updated for a while, it’s always good to ask.
It’s wise to find out what age the kitchen appliances are if they’re still working properly and, of course, if they’re included in the sale price.
Most electrical appliances over fourteen years old will need replacing soon. Dishwashers and refrigerators will need changing even sooner.
How Is the Bathroom’s Plumbing?
Just like kitchens, the bathroom can tell you a lot about how the current owners have looked after the property. Spend a bit of time having a good look round. There could be plenty of hidden problems lurking there.
Don’t be afraid to ask about any potential leaks or knocking pipes that could create bigger problems. Ask for the taps to be turned on so you can see what the water pressure is like.
Make sure the hot water system is going to be adequate.
Check the ventilation, and, again, don’t hesitate to be bold and inspect any windows to make sure they open and close smoothly.
If you see signs of damp anywhere in the house, ask if there have been any mold-related issues in the past.
What Are the Dimensions of the Bedrooms?
You need to make sure that your favorite pieces of furniture are going to fit properly. This will be particularly important when considering secondary bedrooms.
It could be that you’ve been given something in writing which details the room sizes. However, it’s always worth asking permission to take measurements yourself. It’s better to be safe and not sorry later.
What Is the Living Room Flooring Like?
If the living room is carpeted, ask about what the floor underneath is made from. Carpets can cover over a multitude of sins so you need to be sure that everything is just right underneath.
If possible, ask to see a small portion of what lies beneath the carpet. Remember to check all windows and doors so that you’re sure they’re in good condition.
Ask to See Recent Utility Bills
You’re going to need a budget when you start living in a new house. The seller should be able to provide you with evidence of the house’s typical monthly outgoings. Ask about any regular maintenance payments.
You should always inquire about the age of any heating and AC units. Check all water bills, local taxes and if there’s a garden or yard then you may need to factor in some maintenance costs.
How Old Is the Roof?
Installing a new roof is one of the biggest costs in any house modernization.
Make sure you keep informed so that you know if and when the roof was last replaced. It should also be clear to you what the roof is actually made out of.
As a rule, an asphalt shingle roof could last up to twenty years. Metal roofs generally have a lifespan of between twenty and forty years. Tile and slate roofs are the longest lasting at fifty years or more.
Are There Any Boundary Issues?
It’s important to know where your yard begins and ends, and if there have ever been any issues over boundaries. If the house has a small unit which could house an older relative, be sure to get written assurances that this is legal.
Always check what’s included in the price and this goes for the yard too. Sellers have been known to take the garden shed with them when they move.
There could also be homeowners’ association rules about fences or pool. Ask about these. If there is a pool or hot tub check if there are warranties, their condition and how they’re heated.
Are the Add-Ons Legal?
If the sellers have made significant changes to the property by adding extra rooms, make sure they’re all above board and legal. These kinds of add-ons can be really appealing and could actually be what is selling the property to you.
However, they’re of no use whatsoever if they shouldn’t have been built in the first place. You don’t want to be the person who ends up having to pull them down.
Ask General Questions
Once you’ve had the walk-through of the property, do ask if there is anything further that you need to be aware of. A reputable agent or seller should be open to letting you know of any issues.
Questions to Ask at an Open House
Perhaps one of the most important questions you ask at an open house is to yourself. Can you imagine yourself living in the home? If the answer’s yes then you’re halfway there.
Just be sure to consider the answers to all your other questions carefully. Contact us here so that we can help you to find your dream property.