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11 Important Questions to Ask During an Open House


As you embark on the adventure of purchasing a new luxury home in Washington, D.C., you're going to want to keep your options open. While you'll certainly see plenty of gorgeous homes you may want to purchase right on the spot, it's essential to consider carefully before you decide. You'll be in this home for many years, perhaps even the rest of your life, and you want to be sure that you've made the right decision.
 
Whenever you attend an open house, you’ll get to explore and ask questions about a home that just might be yours one day. It's crucial to ask the right questions at an open house to ensure you know all the important details about the home that will help you decide whether you want to purchase it.
 
Here are a few questions that you can start with to find out all the most important details about the home during an open house.

The best questions to ask during an open house

Why is the seller selling this home?

Before finding out more about the home itself, learn the reasons behind the sale. If it's a great home and the seller just needs to move away for a new job, a family concern, etc., you need to know that. You also need to know if the seller is selling for another reason; for example, if they are unsatisfied because:
 
  • The home takes too much maintenance
  • There's something wrong with the home
  • The neighborhood is too noisy
  • The schools are of poor quality
  • The neighbors are too annoying
In general, the real estate agent selling the home is unlikely to tell you outright if there's a problem, so you will need to ask directly. Try to listen closely and determine if there's anything the agent is hiding. Ask pointed follow-up questions if you get a very vague reply.

How many offers have you received?

The market for luxury homes for sale in Washington, D.C., is fairly competitive, so you will likely find that most great homes have a lot of interest. Asking how many offers the house has already received is a great way to determine the level of interest and how likely you may get the home if you put in an offer.
 
It's also helpful to know how many offers the seller may have already rejected, as this can give you a good idea as to how picky they are. Some sellers may be looking for the highest possible price and are unwilling to settle for less. If so, you’ll want to know about this before you decide to negotiate with the seller. You want to know how much you must be willing to offer to get a good chance of getting the home.

When does the seller want to close?

It's important to know when the seller wants to close so that you can negotiate properly. For example, some sellers may be in a big hurry to move if they have a new job. In other cases, the seller may want to move more slowly because they are waiting for the school year to end or for construction on a new home to wrap up so that they can move into it.
 
Knowing when the seller wants to close can help you determine how open to negotiations they may be. They are likely to be pretty open if they're in a hurry to move. On the other hand, if they have time to kill, they may be waiting for an outstanding offer, and you'll need to decide if you want to put together that great offer or move on to another home.

How long has the home been on the market?

You must know how long the home has been on the market. Knowing this information and how many offers have been made and rejected can help you get a feel for how picky the sellers are about the offer they accept.
 
This question may also help you learn a bit more about the home. For example, if the house has been on the market for a long time, but the seller just dropped the price, there may be something about the home that prevented other buyers from offering within the seller's initial desired price range. On the other hand, if the home just came on the market and there's been a lot of interest already, you may need to consider carefully how much you can afford to compete with other buyers.

How much do utilities usually cost?

Your own monthly budget is a crucial factor in deciding where you want to live. You must set a budget that fits your needs, and if the utilities are going to be far too expensive to fit into that budget, you need to know. Ask for a general guess, or, if you like more details, ask if the agent can show you the typical costs for each specific utility (water, electricity, gas, trash pickup, etc.).

Are there any issues with the home?

It's crucial that you know about any issues with the home that may pose potential difficulties for you in the future. Ask about the home's structural integrity and if the agent knows about any repairs that may need to be made. Make sure that nothing in the home violates city codes. Check with the agent about how well the windows, insulation, and roof work and if there have been major leaks in the basement or attic that could cause molding, decay, or other issues.

Have the sellers made any recent repairs or updates?

Knowing all about the status of the home is essential for making the right decision about buying it. Most importantly, you'll want to know if the roofing, siding, electrical systems, HVAC, etc., have been repaired recently or if they are due for an update. These systems are crucial to a comfortable home and could be pretty expensive to repair.
 
In addition, some sellers spend time and money repairing windows, landscaping, kitchens, bathrooms, etc., in preparation for a sale. Be sure that you ask the agent if any such recent updates have been made in the home or if those are something you'll have to consider completing yourself once you've purchased the home.

What exactly is included in the sale?

Occasionally, appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators are included in the sale, but sometimes they are not. It's important to know what exactly you'll get to plan accordingly. You need to know if you have to budget for appliances and fixtures like blinds, window coverings, and extra furniture.

What is the neighborhood like?

It may not be the first thing you think of when you're looking for a new home, but understanding the neighborhood is essential for deciding to move somewhere. It's vital to know whether the neighbors are friendly people, whether the streets are generally busy, and what amenities are nearby for residents to enjoy.
 
Make sure you ask the agent as many questions as possible to get a good feel for the kinds of people and amenities available in the area. Knowing this information could easily make or break the decision for you. You don't want to settle in a home only to find you can't stand the extra traffic that goes by after school every day!

Is there an HOA?

Just as you need to know about the neighborhood itself, it's essential to know about the HOA. HOAs can dictate a lot about the renovations you make to your home and yard, how many cars you can have, and more. Find out whether the neighborhood has an HOA and research or get in touch with them to find out more before purchasing a home.

Can I see myself living here?

As you walk about the home, consider its size, amenities, rooms, colors, yard space, etc. Ask yourself again and again, "Can I see myself living here?" If you can't answer that question with a resounding yes every time, you may want to reconsider. It's crucial that your home fits your family's needs and properly contains the items you deem necessary to make a home.

Reach out to a Washington, D.C. real estate agent today

Don't settle for anything less simply because it seems a good deal. When you're ready to choose your Washington, D.C., home, connect with an agent from the McKenna Group so we can help you find local open houses and great deals on the best luxury homes in the Washington, D.C., real estate market. Give us a call to start looking today!


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