As a buyer, you will spend a lot of time touring open houses in Lake Tahoe. While this can potentially be a bit overwhelming and eventually exhausting depending on how many you have had to meander through, this is a great opportunity to get valuable information straight from the seller’s agent. Before you go, come up with a few key questions to ask so that you can make the most of your time. Here are some ideas of what to ask.
How many offers have been made?
This question will most likely be answered honestly as the agent will hope that you make a competitive offer. This question is key though because it could save you some time if you really like it but can’t go over budget on a home. If you know that this home has an offer, you can keep looking and not get attached as some potential buyers do. Or, if you really want the home, you can prepare to make an offer over the asking listing price.
How many price reductions have there been?
This question does a couple of things. It lets you know how flexible the price is and how motivated the seller. While your agent can get this information for you, the seller’s agent will be able to tell you why a home has been reduced multiple times. It could be as innocent as the seller wants it sold as soon as possible or there is a strict moving deadline. On the other side, they can tell you why a home’s price hasn’t been reduced and may not for some time. Either way, this information is good to have.
How long has this property been on the market?
This is another question your agent can tell you but is also good to get an answer from the seller’s agent. A lot of people seem to assume the worst when they see a home has been sitting for a while. It could be as innocent as a previous offers financing falling through.
What’s the seller’s timeline?
Timing plays such a huge role in everything and sometimes a seller will pick a buyer based on similar timelines. Whether they want to sell quickly or delay it so that their kids can finish school or they can put in an extended notice at work, this is information that can help you put together a tempting offer that benefits them.
Why do the sellers want to move?
There could be a variety of answers to this question, both good and bad. Chances are, if it is bad, the agent is not going to tell you. Bad schools, increase in crime or loud neighbors could be reasons that someone is interested in selling. While they will most likely not share, you can still ask. Then, on your own, you can do research. Go to the local police department and ask about crimes in that neighborhood. Go and introduce yourself to the neighbors and get a feel for them. Research schools and see what their ratings are. They could simply also want to sell due to outgrowing the home.
What can you tell me about the neighborhood?
Is the nightlife pretty active? Is it a quiet retirement community? What neighborhood events are there? Whether you are looking for a tight knit community or a quiet one where everyone keeps to themselves, this answer will give you some insight on whether the neighborhood is right for you.
Where are the best local places to eat at?
This will hopefully give you a good idea of what local businesses are at your convenience, how accurate the walking score is and just a general idea of the vibe of the neighborhood. If there are local businesses that your neighbors love and are proud to have close by, chances are you will too.
When was the house last updated and are there any issues?
The seller is required to inform potential buyers of any issues, whether they be structural, electrical, a code violation, etc. This information could help you with the initial offer price. While pretty upgrades are nice to look at, making sure all the important stuff is in working order is extremely important.
What is the general cost of utilities?
Some bills are going to be higher some months than others, but it is a good idea to find out utilities cost on average just to calculate it in when you are planning financially for the buy.
While these are just an idea of good questions to ask, you may come up with questions in addition to these or you may feel uncomfortable asking more than a few. Talk with your Realtor about what are the most important and appropriate questions to ask at an open house. The whole purpose of being prepared for an open house to get as much information as possible. For more information regarding the home buying process and local open houses, contact us.