Turning an open house viewing into a successful sale is all about the questions: for buyers, this means asking the right ones, and for real estate agents, this means knowing how to answer them. If it's not their first house viewing, potential buyers will probably walk through the front door with a whole reel of questions to ask at an open house, and the agent needs to have an idea of what these are so they have their facts and figures at their finger tips.
To help you prepare for your next viewing, here are some of our questions to ask at an open house and how to answer them.
The background knowledge
First things first, savvy potential buyers will start their open house questions with a few background enquiries. These might ask why the current owner is moving, how long the property has been on the market, and if there have been any offers. It's advantageous for estate agents to be honest about any previous or current offers, as this could drive up competition and make buyers more decisive earlier on. Equally, if a seller is looking to move on quickly for personal reasons, the buyer will have more room to negotiate a lower price.
Next up on the list, viewers may ask about the state of the roof and of various other integral features. A roof needs replacing approximately every 25 years and it’s a big cost to factor in. A recently renovated roof is a good selling point for a property, as are new windows. As a buyer, if you can see that the windows are wooden, you might want to ask if they’re original. Original windows can be very appealing to some buyers, while others would prefer them to be modern and double-glazed.
The fittings and fixtures
For estate agents, doing some homework into when the different appliances, electrical and plumbing fixtures were installed can help stay one step ahead of the queries. Open house questions also commonly bring up the different materials found throughout the house, such as whether the wooden floorboards or the marble worktops are genuine. This is a great time for an estate agent to play up any prestigious features of the house, like solid oak or hardwood flooring or original stone fireplaces. When listing your questions to ask at an open house, don’t forget to include the cost of utilities. It's then helpful if the estate agent has an energy performance rating or some figures to hand.
As a buyer, you need to unashamedly ask about any potential negatives, so estate agents need to equally be ready with answers. Enquire about any previous damp problems, or check whether there has ever been flooding in the area, or any other natural or weather-related local problems. This in turn can lead to questions about home insurance so it’s always convenient to retrieve a rough figure from the current owner.
Engel & Völkers is a world leader in luxury real estate, with a wide range of properties across 700 locations worldwide. For more real estate advice, either browse the blog, or step into your local branch to speak with an expert.