Getting the Most Out of an Open Houses
Open houses are a great way to start your home buying journey. If you’re toying with the idea of purchasing a house, but aren’t exactly sure what type of property you would like, visiting open houses to get a sense of what is available on the market, and checking out different areas is a great option. We’ve put together a few tips to consider when visiting an open house, so that you get the most out of your visits while looking at real estate in Ulster County with your REALTOR®.
Visit multiple open houses: Buying a home is a big life decision, so making sure you know exactly what you want in a house and property is important. Once you have some ideas, checking out properties in your chosen area is a great way to get a sense of the types of properties available, the price range, and the local community and neighborhood. By seeing multiple open houses, you may find that you’re interested in a different type of property, or you may even find the perfect home. It is a great learning experience, even if you’re not completely ready to buy. It offers a great start to begin looking at properties, and may help you narrow down your search with your REALTOR® once the time comes to actively start looking. You may even meet a REALTOR® at the open houses who is the right fit for you in your home buying journey.
What to look for in an Open House:
An open house is also a great way to get a good look at a potential property. Make sure you look out for:
Any kind of damage: Get a good look at the house. Check and see if there is visible wear and tear, especially on floors, ceilings and the roof. Large cracks in the ceiling could be a sign of problems with the foundation. Open up cabinets and check for any black spots or signs of mold. Look at exposed piping and see if there are signs of rust or leaks. Feel around windows for any drafts, or if there is any moisture bubbling up.
The neighborhood: Open houses are an excellent way to also get a feel of the neighborhood. Take a walk around the town and check out the amenities available. You can also get a sense of your neighbors, and the feel of the area. Ask local businesses and people in town about the area. It’s a great way to make sure it’s the right community for you before you purchase.
Privacy: Have a look at how close your neighbors are to you, and look through all the windows. You may not be too concerned at first, but as time goes on, you may become more bothered if you feel you are right on top of your neighbors. Make sure you’re comfortable about what you believe you can tolerate in terms of privacy before committing to buying the house.
Other buyers: It can be helpful to stay outside for a few minutes before entering an open house to get a sense of other potential buyer’s behavior. If people seem to be only staying a few minutes, this could be a red flag that there are some issues with the house. If people tend to stay for a while, and are actively chatting with the listing REALTOR®, this could be a sign that the house is of interest to multiple buyers, and likely won’t be on the market for long. Once inside the house, pay attention to the questions other potential buyers are asking, as it may give you some clues as to how hot or not the property is.
Questions to ask the listing REALTOR®:
Asking key questions at an open house will help you get a better sense of the property, and weed out whether it is the right property for you.
What problems are present in the home: In New York State, REALTORS® need to disclose all known problems with the current home to potential buyers. This is likely the most important question to ask, as if they disclose any major structural issues, it may save you a lot of time, unless you are looking for a renovation project. Ask the REALTOR® for a copy of the seller’s disclosure, which will list all the known issues with the home. If you decide to buy, getting a home inspection prior is recommended, as it could find underlying issues that were not known, and save you headache and money in the long run.
Have there been price changes: Asking the REALTOR® about any price changes on the property can help you get a sense of the market, as well as how flexible the owners are in selling the property. If there has been a recent drop in price, this might mean the seller is motivated, and you may be able to put in a competitive offer. If there has been several price drops recently, this might be a red flag that there are large underlying issues that have arisen in previous home inspections.
How long has the property been on the market: Although you can find this information on your own, it is always good to ask the listing REALTOR®, as they can give you the most accurate information about the property. If it is newly listed and there has been a lot of interest, it might be wise to make an offer that day if you love the house. If the house has been on the market for a while, they can give you insight as to why it hasn’t sold yet. This is also leverage to make a competitive offer, if you decide the house is right for you.
Visiting Open Houses are a great way to see several properties, and get a sense of an area, or check out a new area. Once you’re ready to buy in Ulster County, a REALTOR® can help make your home buying process as seamless as possible. To find an Ulster County REALTOR®, contact us today!