Best Questions To Ask At Open House

Open houses are useful in gathering information about the neighborhood, getting a feeling about the housing stock or finding good real estate agents to work with. Once you spend the time at an open house, what are the best questions to ask and how to make the best of it?

Open House

An open house can tell you a lot more about a home than its floor plan. Here are some questions to ask the listing agent:
  • Are there any offers on the property? If you are interested in that particular property the answer to this question will tell you if you have competition.
  • Were there any offers rejected and why? This will help you come up with an offer with better chances to be accepted.
  • Has this house been in escrow? If it has, and didn't sell, you'd want to know why. Ask if any inspections were done on the house, so you know what you're dealing with, and what kind of secondary inspections you might need should you decide to make an offer.
  • How long has the property been on the market? You might discover an opportunity for a lower offer, especially if there has been a price reduction.
  • Why are owners selling and why have they decided to sell now? This is a variation on "How motivated is the seller?" You might not get any answer, since sellers' agent has a responsibility to them not to disclose factors that might hurt the seller's chances at getting the best offer possible, but the seller's agent might also let  a few useful details slip. Any information you can glean can help you decide how much to offer, when to close, etc.
  • Are there any liens on this property? You don't want any surprises, so make sure there aren't any claims on the property.
  • What appliances and features are being sold with the house? Most of the time, major appliances come with the house. If they don't, you might want to factor the purchase price into your offer. 
  • Is the home going to meet a lender's appraisal expectations? Appraisal at the listing price isn't always a sure thing. Take a look at the recent comps and have your agent check pending sales to make sure you won't get stuck once you've starting spending money on inspections and other aspects of the process.
  • Are there any other costs of ownership? You want to make sure there's nothing to surprise you after closing. Ask about association dues and additional taxes or assessments. Call the homeowner association to make sure there aren't any rules that conflict with your lifestyle.
It pays to make a visit when the work day ends.  Observe the comings and goings.  If you have or plan kids, check the school at arrival and dismissal.  Check U.S. Census demographics and talk to homeowners in the area if you have the opportunity.

Buying a home is not a child's play. Do your research. Real estate purchases and sales are regional so don't let yourself influenced too much by statistics at a national level. Choose a good real estate agent. You want the person who represents you to be honest, not tell you what you want to hear. The selling and buying process are easy to make emotional. Real estate transactions are complicated and require someone who really knows what they are doing to get the best deal. If you are looking for a home in the North Myrtle Beach area, give us a call at (888) 249-2100 or visit CENTURY 21 Thomas search page.

How To Prevent And Detect Water Damage In Your Home

Water is crucial for life, yet water damage to a home can also lead to wood rot, peeling paint, insect infestation, shorter lifespan of roofing and siding, generating high maintenance and repair costs.

Leaking roof

Water damage can happen when you least expect it. Learn how to detect water damage warning signs in and around your home. Follow these tips to prevent water damage and avoid future costly repairs. Keeping on top of potential water problems can save you a lot of money.

Ensure good drainage
  • Clean your gutters - keep them free of debris and leaves
  • Direct downspouts 5-10' away from the house
  • Adjust gutters capacity - if water overflows the gutters after a few minutes of heavy rain, install additional downspouts
  • Slope your yard and landscaping away from the foundation
Clogged gutter

Drain subsurface groundwater and storm water with a sump pump
  • A battery backup system is recommended. The sump pump should discharge as far away from the house as possible
  • Check your sump pump once a year
  • Test more frequently during storm season
Fix water leaks
  • Repair any noticeable dripping pipes
  • Check for dark spots under pipes and on ceilings
  • Repair any cracked caulking
  • Ensure the exterior materials of your home are properly constructed and maintained.  Inspect the roof for missing, loose or damaged shingles
Leaking pipe

Prepare your home
  • Check the attic for holes, air leaks or bypasses from the house and make sure there is enough insulation to keep house heat from escaping
  • Prepare your basement against a water backup by raising your washer, dryer, water heater, all electrical wiring and personal items above typical water backup levels
  • The relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%. Use the air conditioning system to remove the excess humidity
  • Replace drywalls immediately if any signs of moisture are present
Act quickly if water damage occurs and address the problem thoroughly. Unattended water usually results in structural failure and/or mold growth. Consult with a licensed building professional to determine the extent of the repairs necessary. Swift action will help minimize the time and expense for repairs, resulting in a faster recovery.