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Questions To Ask At An Open House


Dear Phyllis,
While saving for our down payment we have been visiting weekend open houses. Last weekend we encountered an extremely nasty real estate agent. I typically ask why the seller is selling. I feel it’s important to know their motivation. The agent rudely told me this was a completely irrelevant question. I asked her what questions I should be asking and she told me to contact my own real estate agent. We don’t yet have an agent because we can’t afford a home right now. So my question to you: What question(s) should we be asking when we visit an open house? Thank you in advance. Barbara


Do you have a real estate question? Ask Phyllis! Email her at or contact her directly at
(818) 790-7325. Phyllis Harb is a Realtor® with Dilbeck Real Estate.

Dear Barbara,
I apologize for her rudeness. Sometimes at open houses, we just feel bombarded, but of course that’s not a reason to be rude.

Why the seller is selling offers insight as to the best way for you to structure your offer. When someone has lived in their home for many years, packing and decluttering will likely be an overwhelming task. In this instance you might structure an offer allowing the seller a week or more in the home after closing. Or let’s assume the seller is relocating for a job transfer and the employed spouse has already relocated, in this scenario a quick closing would likely be appealing.

An important question to ask is about the listing history of the home. Was this home previously listed without selling? And if so when, what price, for how long, etc. When did the seller purchase the home and at what price? It’s also good to know what improvements were made that you might not be aware of. You know if the kitchen and baths were remodeled. But what about major improvements you may not notice, such as copper plumbing, updated electrical, new roof, etc.? These high ticket items add value.

If the home has been purchased by a real estate investor as “flip” shortcuts may have been made in the remodeling process and you would want to be certain you have an excellent home inspector.

Best of luck to you in your home search.