When you go house-shopping on a Sunday afternoon, you will very likely be going from one show house to the next, and easily visit 5-10 during an afternoon session.
Do you have an idea of questions to ask ahead of time, or do you ‘wing it’ depending on the conversation with the agent?
Why not go in prepared with a list of questions to ask the real estate agent?
This way, you know for sure that all possible questions have been asked at every single show house!
Plus, the agents will see you’re a serious home buyer who came in prepared!
Besides getting a feel of the house as you walk through, you would also like to know more details about the house itself, as well as its marketing activity.
Either of which will very likely influence your decision to stay interested or move on!
The best way to be prepared would be to have a list of questions ready to ask.
Here are some of the most popular questions to ask the real estate agent during a show house:
Question no. 1: What’s the reason for selling?
Right off the bat, this seems to be the first question that interested home buyers ask.
Maybe they are downsizing or retiring? Perhaps crime has become an issue in the area?
Whether the real estate agent will answer this question truthfully in the event of negative factors remains to be seen, but the way s/he reacts might already give you some clues.
Question no. 2: How long has this property been on the market?
Even though this information can easily be found online, it’s nice to hear that agent put the information in context.
Maybe the home sellers might be sticky on their price and refuse to sign any offers below a certain amount?
All of these elements will very likely affect your call whether to make an offer yourself.
Question no. 3: Have there been any offers?
Have the offers come in within the first week of marketing?
A month after going live, maybe they’re still waiting to see the first offer!
The agent might reveal some extra information which will steer you away/closer to formalizing an offer?
Whatever the answer might be, some tidbit info will be useful, so make sure not to skip this question!
Question no. 4: Is this the original asking price or have there been price reductions?
Another great question to get a better feel of what’s been happening price-wise!
Maybe it was initially listed at a higher price, and have the sellers been slowly-but-surely dropping the price?
In this current market, more often than not, the urgency has very likely changed and now suddenly things need to move!
The agent will be able to place all of these price movements into perspective for you!
Question no. 5: What are the rates and taxes?
Although the rates and taxes information might be provided on the brochures, in case they tend to be on the high/low side, an agent will be able to provide you more information.
Perhaps you as a home buyer aren’t used to seeing such high utility costs, whereas those are relatively lower where you live now in that sectional title unit!
Definitely something to keep in mind when putting a budget together!
Question no. 6: When is the seller looking to move?
Getting a property registered nowadays can take anywhere from 3-4 months, depending on the complications (or lack thereof) during transfer.
Perhaps the sellers are in hurry and would be willing to consider early occupation?
Or the youngest child might not graduate from high school until 6 months from now and they would prefer to a prolonged registration.
The more you know about the sellers’ intention to move, the better you as a home buyer can work around it.
All of these factors will influence the level and quality of your potential offer!
Question no. 7: What is this neighbourhood like?
Moving into a particular area might not be evident.
Plenty of things to find out – such as closest grocery store, mall, schools, highway connection, etc – and who better to ask than the local real estate agent!
Question no. 8: What are the neighbours like?
Having children yourself, it would be great to know whether the neighbourhood is kid-friendly!
Maybe the average age of the residents is in line with your parents’ age, in which case there might be a slight mismatch!
Plenty of young professionals nearby might point to a more active nightlife?
Another great question to ask the real estate agent during that show house!
Question no. 9: Which defects has the seller disclosed?
Even though there tends to be a disclosure report signed by the seller, there will always be some flaws which the seller nor agent will be aware of.
Recent repair work in some of the rooms might paint a different picture!
Have damp issues been fixed?
Does it have a flat roof? If so, when was the last maintenance done? Is there still a valid warranty?
Eventually, a home inspection report will become mandatory as part of the offer to purchase to protect all parties!
Question no. 10: Why did the home seller hire you?
Although this might not purely be a home buying question, as a potential future client (either as a buyer or seller), wouldn’t it be nice to already have a short-list of real estate agents to reach out to?
What better way to start a relationship than at the show house!
And based on that question alone, how high will the odds be that this agent will actually follow up with you?
In the end, as an interested home buyer, you want to make sure all your (basic) questions are answered.
If it turns out that the house caught your attention, you’ll at least have a good idea of the marketing and/or price activity of the property ahead of any negotiations which may follow.
Do you like to ask questions to the real estate agent during show houses which we may have missed here? Feel free to comment below!