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Facebook BoostIt’s home buying season; a great time to check out some of the open houses being staged this weekend and gives you an opportunity to look closely at homes you might be interested in buying. It also affords you the chance to meet with local real estate agents and learn more about home ownership.

If you find yourself engaging an agent this weekend and have any hesitations about home ownership or issues you think might prevent you from owning a home, be sure to bring it up. Agents simply are your first and best resource to answer questions and open houses are great places to meet them. Knowing what to ask can be difficult, so below are examples of questions to ask at the next open house you attend.

Why has the seller decided to sell now?

Asking this question can help you gather valuable information to help determine your offer, or whether or not you want to buy the home. Knowing the owners are about to go into foreclosure, or if they’ve retired and completely paid off the home can help you understand how urgently they need to sell their property.

Has the seller had any other offers?

With an improving housing markets across the country, multiple offers are being presented to home sellers again. Don’t forget that you’re not only negotiating with the seller for a price, you are also competing with other potential home buyers and it really can help to know what you are up against.

It’s important to understand that you’re in the beginning of a negotiation process and might not get a 100% straight answer to the question. Remember most sellers know that competition – or perceived competition – can cause a potential home buyer to move forward quicker and at a higher price. This by far is a critical time in the home buying process and having a professional real estate agent asking these questions for you probably is in your best interest.

Does the Home have any Annual or Special Assessments?

Ask the real estate agent about the other costs associated with owning the home, such as Home Owners Association (HOA) fees. It’s important to know about these extra expenses in advance, so you can make an informed offer. Be sure to ask about any pending litigation concerning the property. Litigation is not always a deal killer, but it’s better to know the details before you sign a purchase agreement.

What Appliances are Being Sold with the House?

Most of the time, a seller will include major appliances such as the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher with the home, but this isn’t always the case. If you don’t already have these items, it’s important to know whether they are included in the purchase price.

Is there Anything Else that You Want Left with the Home?

This is an important question to ask. Especially, if there are specific things in the home or yard that you have a strong interest in. Perhaps it’s a shed, play set or a pool table that fits perfectly in the game room. Including items are fine, even if you’re planning on getting an FHA or VA mortgage. Simply have these items included in your purchase agreement and make sure the seller indicates these items are being left for the convenience of the seller and not a part of purchase price, so it doesn’t effect the appraiser value estimate as lenders only lend on real property.

The open house is a great opportunity to learn more about a home before making the decision to buy it, so be sure you ask the right questions. If you’re interested in learning more about home ownership or open houses in your area, visit our Real Estate Broker Google+ communities and find our Pinterest Open House board to see what’s available this weekend.

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A SIMPLE HOME SHOPPING INSPECTION TOOL

Organizing your home shopping experience affords a wise decision making process. This simple home inspection tool makes your ultimate buying decision a smart one. To print this document click on “Open in New Window” located at the lower right corner; click on “File”; then click on “Print”. In the center of the screen you will have the option  to “Create A Printable PDF of the Presentation”.