Before you make any open house visits, review the selected properties with your real estate agent. Be sure to ask these few important questions about each home listing to eliminate some properties right away.

  1. When are the owners moving? Depending on the answer to this, because they are getting a job out of state or in the process of buying a home themselves, the owners might be open to negotiation on the price. There’s also the chance that owners quickly leaving a property means that the neighborhood, in general, is on a downward slope.
  2. Where does the price fall? Most agents have a good handle on market values, and if a property is over- or under-priced. This is essential information that can alter the way you view a property when you see it in person. Tip: Review similar properties featured at the bottom of the property listing page. It’ll give you recently sold homes and their sold price, as well as a quick comparison of the homes that meet your search criteria.
  3. How long has it been on the market? A home that has been on the market for a longer than average amount of time is a classic red flag. Homebuyers can use this information to lower the asking price, but in many instances, they will want to avoid the home altogether. Your agent should have good reasons why a particular property hasn’t sold.
  4. Local taxes, utilities, HOA fees. Knowing what the current homeowners pay now is essential for planning the final loan decision, and budgeting for the future.
  5. Neighborhood Feel. This subjective but important information is part of what makes a property feel like home. It is also one of the unique functions that your agent brings to the table. A good agent understands the neighborhoods where they show their buyers homes, and will help you find one that meshes with your personal style. Don’t forget… you can always drive through a few neighborhoods to get a feel yourself.

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