Questions to Ask During an Open House
During an open house, potential home buyers tour perfectly staged rooms while an agent points out a house’s charms. However, buyers should use the opportunity to delve deeper than surface level with a ready list of must-asks. An experienced South Florida real estate professional will be knowledgeable about the properties they represent, and therefore provide very useful information. Below are some questions home buyers should ask as they tour a home.
For most households, the kitchen serves multiple purposes and its appliances are used daily. It is important that buyers inquire about the last time kitchen countertops and cabinets were replaced. An outdated design is far easier to spot than outdated appliances. Appliances that do not work renders a kitchen useless. Buyers should ask how old the appliances are, and if all of them are functional. Based on the answer, replacements may need to be considered.
The bathroom is another problem-prone area of a house, and recent updates might distract attention from serious issues. While kitchens need working electrical appliances, bathrooms need operational plumbing fixtures. Buyers should inquire about any plumbing issues the bathrooms might have, such as knocking pipes, leaky faucets, poor drainage, lack of hot water, or low water pressure. During an open house, they can check the hot water and water pressure themselves by turning on the faucets.
If buyers expect to furnish their new home with their own furniture, it is important to know what can fit. One must ask what the dimensions of the master bedroom and any secondary bedrooms are. During the tour, buyers can bring measuring tape and measure the bedrooms themselves, rather than solely relying on the measurements on the listing sheet.
Throughout the years, the health dangers of certain wall materials have been brought to light. When touring a property, one should ask his agent if the walls are painted with outdated lead paint. Lead paint is incredibly toxic; contaminated walls would have to be stripped and repainted professionally. Another critical question to ask is if the drywall is safe. Most homes built between 2001 and 2008 (many in Florida) have toxic drywall, sometimes called Chinese drywall. Homes with this defective drywall have to be renovated immediately.
When buyers get to the yard, they should take this opportunity to ask where exactly the property line is, information which should later be cross-checked with the deed. It is also vital for them to inquire about the legality of constructing home additions or separate buildings such as tiny houses. Buyers should also ask about the homeowners’ association regulations regarding other yard features such as fencing, screen enclosures, and pools. If the property already has a pool, one should inquire about its overall condition and the condition of its equipment and heating system. Getting the responses to these questions in writing and having an agent sign off on them is always recommended.
Aside from the kitchen appliances and bathroom plumbing, prospective buyers must ask about the rest of the appliances and systems that will remain in the property. One should find out if any of the appliances are covered by a home warranty, as well as how often the appliances and systems (such as its heating and air conditioning) have been serviced. Buyers can request the maintenance records and utility costs of the last two years from the owners to get a clearer idea of how the house was taken care of.
Getting to experience a home for the first time during an open house can be very exciting for home buyers. Still, they must remember that they must know as much as possible about a property before their purchase. Open houses are great times for buyers to become more informed about a specific listing. An experienced South Florida real estate professional will know how to answer any of the important questions above.
If you are in the market for a new home in South Florida, call Stein Posner today. Our real estate family will guide you through the home buying process to your dream home.