If you’re searching for a new home open houses can present many learning opportunities. It’s your chance to gather information–not only about the particular home you’re touring, but also about buying homes in general. It’s also your chance to get used to working with real estate agents to learn what they can offer you.

Many people arrive at an open house with an open mind. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is good to be prepared with some questions for the agent. In this article, we’ll talk about some important questions that will help you make the most informed real estate decisions as possible. But first, let’s talk open house preparation in general.

Open House Etiquette

Many people expect to be pounced upon by an agent at an open house like a salesman in a furniture store. However, you’ll most likely find that the agent is hands-off at the open house, letting you take a look around unbothered. Here are some tips for good open house etiquette to leave a good impression as a potential buyer.

  • Sign in to the guestbook. Or, if you do decline, do it politely
  • Ask for permission before you take photos
  • Ask the real estate agent your questions casually and give them time to speak with other guests–interrogating the agent will make it an uncomfortable meeting for everyone
  • Save probing questions or criticism until you leave. You’ll get a chance to speak with the agent again, but don’t want to seem rude at your first meeting.

Top Five Questions

  1. Why are the owners selling the home?
    This one question will give you several details about the home. If they are selling because of the neighbors or problems with the home this question will give you insight into those important buying factors.
  2. Has the listing price changed? 
    Fluctuation in the price of the home can mean the seller is on a timeline or that the house isn’t receiving any offers at the original price. This information could mean that there is some flexibility in the price of the home.
  3. Are there any problems with the home?
    Most states require the seller to disclose problems with the house. There are many issues that could affect the value of a home that aren’t in plain sight, such as plumbing and electrical work. Don’t be afraid to ask when the last time the roof was repaired or when any other major work was done on the house.
  4. What is the neighborhood like? 
    If you aren’t familiar with the area you’re moving into this is a very important question to ask. Real estate agents should be experts on the area they work in and will be able to give you information about noise levels, schools, traffic, and so on.
  5. What is the cost of utilities? 
    Everyone uses different amounts of electricity and water. That being said, each home also has its own level of efficiency. If the home has outdated lighting and appliances or if the faucets let out a high volume of water, you might be surprised at how much your future utility bills will be.

Owning a home gives a huge sense of self fulfillment and accomplishment, however, it welcomes you to a new world of expenditures. Every home at some point needs one form of repair or an other. Be it major or minor, when hiring someone else to perform the repair, you are sure to spend money. On the flip side, if you know how to perform some of these repairs yourself,  hiring an expert is certainly not necessary and some cash can be saved.

In light of the above, here are some home repairs you can do with ease without the services of a professional. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to begin working.

Doors: Doors perform basic functions and are everywhere in the home. They add class and style. In some cases, weather elements can affect doors causing them to swell or shrink. If they expand, they will not close flush with the door frame.  This would require the use of a carpenter’s hand plane to reduce the thickness of the wood. Before doing this, please consider the fact that doors may return to normal when the season is over. To do this, make sure the door is firmly held in a position that would allow for the easy removal of excessive wood. Another door issue is how their hinges squeak when they begin oxidizing. Simply applying lubricant to the hinge, will take care of this.

Application of Caulking: This is the water proof barrier between the shower, sink, bath tub and the surfaces that surround them. It acts as a sealant to prevent moisture damage. Over time, this may require replacement. The surface and old caulking needs to be cleaned and prepared before the new application.  Old residue can be scraped off with a razor blade or dissolved with solvent.  Clean the surface with paint thinner to ensure it is completely dried. Apply caulking sufficiently to ensure it covers the widest gaps in your project.

Leaking Faucet: Fixing a leaky faucet is a common house hold repair. As insignificant as  it may seem, when you add up all the water drops leaked over the weeks, it is enormous. Do you want to fix a leaking faucet without the intervention of a professional? It is an easy process. Here are the steps.

  • Shut off the main water supply and unscrew the faucet handle.
  • With pliers, unscrew the packing nuts and the screws that hold the washers in place.
  • Examine the washer, if it is deteriorated extensively, you should replace it. Some washers are rare so you may need to look a little harder.
  • When you find the ideal washer, replace it and reverse the steps above to install the new one.

You will be amazed on how much you will save by engaging in home repairs. Apart from it being fun, you will learn a lot.  The internet provides a wealth of do-it-yourself videos for the novice handyman.

 

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