Six Important Questions to Ask During an Open House

Six Important Questions to Ask During an Open House

  • Lyon Gegenheimer
  • 01/3/23

Many owners of Central Austin real estate will host an open house after they put their home on the market. This can be a great opportunity for potential buyers to stop by and ask questions about the home. Before you head out to an open house, it’s wise to take some time to think about what you need to learn about the property before you feel comfortable making an offer. Here are six questions that you should always ask when attending an open house.

1. How long has the house been on the market?

This is an important question to ask because it helps you determine what sort of offer you should make. If the home has only been on the market for a few days, an offer closer to the asking price might be necessary to secure the property. In the beginning, the seller likely won’t feel the need to take an offer far below their asking price. Seller motivation often changes once the home has spent several weeks on the market. As time goes by, the seller may be growing impatient as they wait for their home to sell. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to make an offer below the asking price and see if there is any room to negotiate.

2. Has the home already received an offer?

Knowing if there’s already an offer on the table will give you a better picture of the amount of interest the home has received. If you learn that the home has received one or more offers, you can ask if the offers are still on the table or if a deal fell through. If the seller has an offer in hand that they haven’t accepted, they may be waiting for a better offer to come along. Offers that fall through could be a sign that something is wrong with the property, especially if there was a home inspection. There’s a lot you can learn by asking this question regardless of the answer. This question helps you understand how much competition you’ll face.

3. Did the seller make any renovations to the home or improvements to the home during their ownership?

Renovations to a home can be a great way to increase the home’s value and usable lifespan. Improvements also provide insight into the type of seller you are dealing with.  A seller who has made no home renovations might also have neglected regular maintenance.  Deferred maintenance generally shortens the lifespan of major systems like the air-conditioning, furnace and water heater.
Concerns may arise if the home’s renovations were poorly done or if they don’t meet city codes. Make sure you schedule an inspection before you close on a home so that you can ensure that all home fixtures are safe and up to code, and there is no deferred maintenance that you will inherit when you purchase the property. 

4. How old is the roof, HVAC system, and water heater?

This question is especially important if you’re looking at an older home. Nothing in a home is made to last forever. Major home systems and components are very expensive to replace. These elements need to be repaired or replaced, generally, every 10-20 years. If it’s been a while since any upgrades have been made, the responsibility will fall to you upon completion of the purchase. You may need to plan and budget for these items within the first couple of years of your ownership. If you are purchasing a home built before 1970, additional things to know, include the age of the electric panel and wiring, and the age and type of plumbing pipes. Older electric systems were not meant to keep up with our modern lives: microwaves, surround-sound audio, cell phone charging, laptops and HDTV (even the multitude of counter top appliances) all put additional demands on our electrical system which can potentially turn into a fire hazard. PVC and plastics have lead a revolution in modern plumbing systems. Older systems with cast iron and galvanized pipes rust, corrode and deteriorate over time. These systems generally only last for a 50 year timeframe.

5. What appliances are included with the home?

Don’t assume that you’ll get the refrigerator, washer or dryer when you purchase the home. Those are not required to convey with a sale under the Texas property code.  Even if they appear to be fixtures, sellers aren’t required to include all appliances with the sale. Appliances can often be used as negotiation items when discussing an offer. If you do not ask for the refrigerator, washer and dryer in your initial offer, don’t assume they convey. Do the appliances look like old junk? You will inherit that junk and brunt the cost of removal if you don’t require the seller to remove them in your contract. Often sellers will choose to leave bulky appliances behind because of the cost and trouble associated in moving them. Regardless, you will want to know up-front what will and won’t convey with the sale if you choose to purchase the home. 

6. Is the seller including a home warranty?

A home warranty is different than home insurance. A home warranty is usually a 1 year policy from a company that warrants most mechanical systems and appliances in the home. These companies generally have annual contracts with local area plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians to service repairs for their customers.  If you purchase a property with a home warranty and the dishwasher breaks 2 weeks after you move in, the repair will likely be covered with only a small out-of-pocket deductible between $50-75.  Even if you are purchasing an older home without updated appliances, A/C or other mechanical systems, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. No one wants to find out they purchased a money pit that will drain your bank account.

Lyon Gegenheimer has spent the past 25 years working in the Central Austin real estate industry. He has enjoyed tremendous success during that time. He works hard to provide each of his clients with the highest levels of service. He uses his vast knowledge of the Austin area and the local market to educate each of his clients and empower them to make the best decisions when buying or selling real estate. Reach out to Lyon and his team whenever you’re ready to take the next step towards shopping for Central Austin condos for sale.

Work With Lyon

Lyon is the lead broker of the Lyon Real Estate Group at Compass based in Austin, Texas. Lyon Real Estate Group’s goals are to provide the highest level of real estate services available. Honesty, Experience, and Integrity are principles and qualities the brokers and agents demonstrate daily with enthusiasm and solid market knowledge.

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