Six Open House Questions To Be Prepared To Answer

Estate agent showing a family a house

Open houses might be fun for home shoppers, but to agents, they’re work.  Your feedback is the market research they need to do their jobs right.   If you know the questions open house agents are going to ask then you can be prepared with answers.  All you need is little preparation   Here is your cheat sheet to some of the questions you may face at an open house:

1.The question:  How long have you been looking?

Why they’re asking:  The agent is trying to determine how serious you are in buying a new home.   If you’ve only been looking for a few weeks, the agent will understand you are just getting your feet wet and trying to figure out what you are looking for in a new home.  If you have been on the home search for months, the agent will recognize you are a serious buyer and may dig in further to find out what you’re looking for.

How you should answer:  Be honest and specific.  This is harmless information.

2.The question:  Are you working with an agent exclusively?

Why they’re asking:  This question sets the tone of the conversation.  If you are represented by an agent, they open house agent cannot try to represent you.  Many agents doing business in the same area know each other so don’t be caught off guard if the agent asks who your agent is.  The agent will likely call your agent to get your feedback on the home.

How you should answer:  If you are working with an agent, say so!  If you are asked to sign in with your name, give your agent’s contact information rather than your info. That’s all the agent needs to follow up.

3.The question:  How does this house compare to other’s you’ve seen?

Why they’re asking:  Now that the agent knows you have been looking at other homes, they want to know how their listing compares to others on the market.  What better feedback than from a home buyer who has toured other homes nearby.

How you should answer:  Be honest and point out the differences (good and bad) between comparable homes.  If you recently toured a similar home in the neighborhood with a remodeled kitchen but this kitchen could use some updating let the agent know.  This feedback is valuable to the agent and the homeowner to understand if the home has been on the market longer than others in the neighborhood.

4.The question:  Are you specifically looking in this neighborhood?

Why they’re asking:  The agent would like to know how focused you are.  If you are serious about the neighborhood but not interested in making an offer on his/her listing, you’ve caught her attention.  What is it about this listing that isn’t appealing?  The house style?  The particular street it sits on?  Or is it all about the price?

How you should answer: Once again, be honest.  If you’re focused on the neighborhood, it’s OK to say so. If you have just started looking and aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger, it’s OK to say so.  Any feedback the agent receives is valuable and will help in deciding if there are adjustments that need to be made in marketing the home if buyers aren’t making offers.

5.The question:  What do you think of the price?

Why they’re asking:  This won’t be the first question to be asked but it’s the most important one.  The agent wants a thoughtful answer.

How you should answer:  If you don’t feel like you have seen enough homes or don’t know enough about the market to give an educated answer, then explain this the agent.  In general, the agent isn’t looking for a specific dollar amount but would like to know if the home is “priced competitively” or “priced to high.”

6.The question: Are you considering making an offer on this home?

Why they’re asking:  The agent is trying to do their job so don’t take offense!

How you should answer:  As a buyer, you hold the power.  Letting the agent know you are planning on writing an offer is good news to the agent.  It also may help you if the home is in high demand.  The agent will wait for all offers to be submitted in a multiple offer situation so this allows you time to contact your agent and your offer submitted.  If you’re not planning on making an offer, it’s fine to say that, too.

Buying a home is probably the most significant financial commitment you’ll ever make. Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, HUFF Realty will help you through the entire home buying experience.

Source:  www.realtor.com

 

Open House: with the best of traditional and digital marketing

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The way people like to shop for homes, has changed a lot in the past few years. Today’s buyers prefer things their counterparts even five years ago did not, and therefore it’s important to be mindful of changing methods and trends. While the general idea for a lot of open house preparation remains the same as it ever was, a number of aspects may need to shift just a little bit to accommodate current buyers’ preferences.

Today, the most successful real estate agents are able to combine old-fashioned industry know-how with cutting-edge ideas about how to attract interest, according to Bankrate. The tried-and-true methods for distributing information about an open house or a property itself can still apply, but it’s equally important to make sure to put everything online. Finding the right balance between traditional and online advertising options, depending upon the local market and its demographics, is vital. However, abandoning some traditional aspects can be a misstep as well.

What does that mean?
The vast majority of home searches start online, so agents should do the same, prioritizing a good website listing and social media presence over print ads.

However, old-school directional signs, with arrows guiding prospects to the open house, are still a smart move.

Traditionally, open houses take place on Sundays between one and four in the afternoon. Some experts are now suggesting weeknight evening ‘happy hour showings’ or Saturday showings. Even minor tweaks, such as changing the timing by moving back even an hour or two from standard open house times can open the door to a larger group of prospective buyers.

Making a website shine
Traditionally many buyers take photos around an open house. Investing in professional photography can go a long way to getting a property sold.  The photos not only entice prospects, but also help remind interested buyers about the features of the home after the initial showing. Consequently, it might be smart for agents do the same beforehand and put them on a website with an easy-to-remember URL, according to Fit Small Business. That way, when would-be buyers hit multiple open houses in one day, they’re not looking back a few days later and asking themselves, “Oh, I love this living room, but which house was it in?”

By giving shoppers the ability to look at a house again with a website that’s easy-to-find and navigate, agents can facilitate real estate sales for their clients without drastically changing the way they’ve done things for years. Often, all it takes is a little extra effort online to go from a good open house to a great one.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

10 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Home Inspector

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A home inspection can prevent a lot of headaches for both buyers and sellers.

If you are buying a home, an inspection could reveal problems you never would’ve noticed. An inspection can require the seller to fix what needs fixing before you by the home. There may be issues found that make you decide not to buy.  The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process!

Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable inspector.

1.Get a reference from your real estate agent.

One of the best resources for picking a good home inspector should be your real estate agent.  If your agent has been in the busy for any length of time, they have probably encountered quite a few home inspectors.  They will be able to give you advice on who does a thorough job and who does not.

2.Look for a company that is bonded and insured.

The type of work inspectors do puts them at certain amount of risk – while climbing in attics and wandering through basements and crawl spaces accidents can occur.  Reputable home inspectors carry insurance for this reason which eliminates the risk of the homeowner from being sued if injury does occur during an inspection.

3. Verify the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.

This information is important as companies who do offer repair and renovation services have a conflict of interest. They are likely to see problems where there aren’t any.  Choose a home inspection company that’s focused solely on inspections.  Bring in a contractor after the inspection is over if you are interested in the cost of repairs or renovations.

4. Find out what the inspection includes and how long it takes.

Knowing what an inspector will look at will allow you to shop around and compare services.  Some inspectors may focus on one area such as the structure itself and nothing else.  A good inspector will go over every little detail of your home including:

  • The heating and air conditioning systems.
  • The basement and foundation.
  • The roof and attic.
  • The electrical system.
  • The structural condition.
  • Evidence of water penetration or grading issues.
  • Pests such as bugs and wildlife.
  • Environmental issues such as mold, radon, asbestos, and lead paint.
  • Appliances and other general components of the home.

The time given for the inspection is also a good indicator of how thorough the inspection will be.  Generally, an inspection should take 2-3 hours to complete, but if you are buying a larger home, a fixer-upper, or an older home, the inspection should take longer.

5. Get references.

Selecting an inspector is as important as choosing the right real estate agent to work with. Asking for references allows you to reach out to previous clients and ask how their experience was when working with the inspector.  Did the inspector seem knowledgeable? Was the report comprehensive and relatively easy to understand?  Keep in mind, you will be given the contact information of their most satisfied customers so it is helpful to get multiple references.

6. Verify that you can accompany the inspector.

Going through the inspection will allow you to gain valuable insight into the state of your new home.  The home inspector can explain the different things he or she is looking for and will allow you to take notes of any areas that may give you trouble in the future – even if it isn’t an issue at the time of the inspection.

7. Request a sample inspection report.

Inspection reports come in many different formats, from walls of text to colorful reports with photographs.  Ask to see a sample report to see if the format works for you.  Sometimes it is easier to discern problems with pictures accompanied by a description to see what the inspector is referencing.

It is also important to choose an inspector who can deliver a completed report with plenty of time to review – most inspectors will have the report ready within 24 hours of the inspection.

8. Compare the cost of hiring different companies.

When shopping around for home inspection companies, make sure you have a detailed description of what each company does during the inspection in order to make a fair comparison.

On average, a general home inspection can cost between $400 to $800 depending on where you live.  You should expect to may more if you are testing radon, mold, lead and water.

9. What’s the inspectors background?

You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements.  If you are looking to buy a specialty home, such as an historic home, try to find an inspector with some experience in the type of home you are buying.  The issues with the construction of older home and newer home differ greatly so it will be helpful having an inspector familiar with each type of home.

10.Does the inspector belong to any professional home inspector associations?

Membership in appropriate associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ensures that inspectors have passed competency examinations, adhere to recognized standards of practice, operate under a strict code of ethics, and maintain continuing education in their field.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, we’ll help you through the entire home buying experience.  Contact your local HUFF agent today or visit HUFF.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Can Be a Great Season for Real Estate

village street
Fall can be a great season to buy as well

School is back in session nationwide, and that occasion is typically seen as the unofficial start of autumn. For real estate professionals, that might come as a stark contrast, because the summer buying season usually keeps them busy. However, recent analysis shows that fall might actually be the best time for many bargain-hunters to hit the market, because home prices tend to get more affordable around this time of year.

Just last autumn, an examination of home sales over a 15-year period starting in 2000 found October was typically the month in which buyers got the biggest discounts on asking prices, according to the industry data firm RealtyTrac. The average discount shoppers found October was about 2.6 percent below asking, outstripping the savings seen in winter months like December, January, and February.

The analysis even narrowed things down to the best day to buy: Oct. 8. On that day, the average buyer from 2000 to 2015 enjoyed a discount of 10.8 percent. That date came in ahead of Nov. 26, New Year’s Eve, Oct. 22 and Oct. 15, all of which saw average discounts of at least 9.1 percent.

What’s the big savings driver?
So the question many agents or brokers may have is, “Why do prices drop at this time of year?” Industry experts say there can be any number of factors involved, depending on where people live, how hot the market had been previously, and so on. All of these issues have a big impact on the number of and savings granted by real estate sales, so it’s important for brokers or agency owners to encourage their agents to stay active at this time of year.

October can be a prime buying season because the amount of daylight dwindles, but days are still relatively long for much of the month. In addition, the weather in most parts of the country cools, but not enough to deter people from showing up to an open house. Interestingly, warmer climates like the Southeast or Southwest, which tend to see a lot of “snowbirds” from northern states, sometimes see increased buying activity in the fall as people look to lock in deals so they can move before another winter begins.

Why should buyers act soon?
One of the biggest considerations here is that when people keep their homes on the market in the fall, sellers get more motivated, according to Trulia. Typically, they don’t want to deal with the dearth of shoppers that comes during and after the holiday season and may be a little more flexible when it comes to issues even beyond the sales price. For example, they might be more accommodating when letting buyers choose their move-in dates.

Industry experts also note those who buy nearer to the end of the year also get the benefit of shopping for new homes while holiday sales are going on. That can help them save a bit of money after they move in as well. Consequently, the more agents can do to highlight all the benefits of shopping throughout the fall, the better off both they and their clients are likely to be when it comes to finding the right home at the right price.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.