Open houses are a great way to pack a bunch of home visits in on a Sunday afternoon. It is like window shopping for houses. However, you should go with a list of questions to ask the listing broker if the home interests you. Here are some questions worth asking;
- Why are they moving? This tells you how motivated they are to sell.
- When do they want to move? Would they prefer an offer that gives them time to find another house or a quick occupancy? Often a vendor will accept a lesser price if the dates are perfect.
- Have there been offers on the home before? The broker can’t legally tell you the price of the other offers, but they can tell you if there has been any and if the offer died on building inspection, why.
- What was the original list price on the home? How long has it been on the market? Is this the first contract or was it listed with another broker before? These will help you know if the home is priced correctly, are the owners dreaming of an unrealistic price, have they finally woke up and are ready for reality?
- What are the heating costs? If the costs are high it could be a red flag for insulation issues, however everyone heats differently, they could have just turned the heat up for the open house!
- Are there any known issues with the home? Ask for a copy of the Seller’s Declaration – Mandatory document in Quebec, it states everything the owner knows about the property’s condition.
- How close are the parks and services? Location, location, location. I can not say it enough you can fix any house, but you can’t fix a location!
Be prepared to answer so questions too! The listing broker has an obligation to give their vendor feedback from the day! Think about it you are going into a stranger’s house walking around to see if you like it, its their personal space, they should be able to have some feed back from you. Also fill out the sign in sheet. If you are worried about the broker doing a hard sell, don’t give all your contact info but your name would be nice. If the house was yours that the broker was trying to sell wouldn’t you want him/her to do their job correctly?
Here is what most brokers will ask you – be prepared!
- Are you working with another broker exclusively? This is important for the broker to know, ethically brokers don’t like step on other brokers toes! Tell the broker when you walk in that you are working with Tania from Royal LePage, the broker will appreciate it. The broker will call your broker for feedback from the visit and leave you be!
- Are you from the area? This lets the broker know if they should give you some area information.
- When are you looking to buy for? This just helps the broker know where you are in your search and if you are more on a scouting visit or a serious ‘let’s find a house asap’.
- How do you feel about the house, compared to others you’ve seen, its price? This helps the broker give constructive feedback to the owner.
- Are you considering making an offer on this home? Ok sounds pushy but it’s the brokers job to sell the house! Again, if it were your house on the open house, would you was the broker to ask everyone! Law of averages says, ask enough and your bound to get one yes!
Brokers do open houses every Sunday, you will probably see the same broker in the weeks to come at another property. They know the area, they know the market, so use them for their knowledge. Don’t run into an open house and treat them like a vulture you must avoid! They are there to help!
**The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.**