- Visual Inspection. As you are walking through a house, maybe at an open house or showing, look for clues that can tip you off to bigger issues. Small cracks in the walls, ceiling or floor could indicate foundation problems. Spots on the ceiling or marks down a wall could be from water damage. Dirty intake vents could mean the AC system hasnt’ been properly taken care of and needs to be serviced. An overly dirty house could mean an owner hasn’t taken good care of the home in general. None of these automatically mean there are issues but they can point to hidden issues or things you should have checked out.
- Check with your Insurance Agent. When you are getting a quote for homeowners insurance, your agent can usually pull a report that shows most claims the current seller has made. For claims that show up, you should check with the seller to verify how the problems were addressed. For example, if a home had water damage from a broken toilet that flooded a bathroom, how did the seller clean up and fix that issue? Your insurance agent can be a huge help. In the notes below is the info for an agent I recommend.
- Home Inspection. After you make an offer on a house and the seller accepts, you have what’s called an “option period” to have the house inspected by professionals. General home inspections, termite inspections and foundation inspections are common. You can take their reports, go back to the seller and ask for them to fix certain things. If you can’t agree on repairs, you can walk away from the deal and save most of your money.
To know when is the best time to sell, we need to look at three trends. We need to understand trends for the number of other homes available and sold each month (SUPPLY & DEMAND), how fast homes sell (VELOCITY) and how much homes sell for compared to the list price (VALUE).
SUPPLY & DEMAND – Number of Homes Available & Sold
VELOCITY – How Fast Homes Sell
VALUE – How Much Homes Sell For Versus List Price
The Austin Board of Realtors just released the official numbers for the month of July and in the City of Austin, the average sales price hit $345,000 in July 2016, a 4.6 percent increase from last year, while the number of homes sold in July declined by 7.3 percent. Housing inventory rose slightly from 2.1 months in July 2015 to 2.4 months in July 2016 and homes spent four more days on the market than the previous year.
- Ask the WHY, not the WHAT
- Get the Sellers’ Insight
Every weekend, thousands of people leave their air conditioned homes to visit open houses. If you are going to give up a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to look at houses, I’m sure you want it to be profitable – useful – and feel like your time was worth it (Are you thinking of a move? I can make it easier – Let’s Connect!). If you want your open house visits to be as valuable as possible, you need to ask the right questions. What is the most common question I get at an open house? I already answered that in this blog post.
The best questions will always focus on information you can’t find in a flyer or MLS listing – they will focus on the hidden details. So, what is the best question to ask? I couldn’t narrow it down to only one so here are the top two:
What do the sellers like MOST about this home?
The answer to this question can be very valuable because it will often highlight something about the home of area that you would be very hard to convey or understand unless you are actually at the home. Maybe the sellers love the floor plan or the neighborhood. Maybe they like the schools or the back yard has an amazing sunset view that you could never truly appreciate unless you saw the backyard for yourself. The answer could be any number of things, but it is most likely something that you would never learn from a flyer, MLS listing or the information I have already shared in social media leading up to my open house (Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube!).
The second best question to ask is…
Why are the sellers moving?
If you read my other post, you know that this is also the most common question I get at an open house. It is also a very good question that I recommend you ask on a visit to an open house. This is information that probably only the agent knows and it can be super helpful. The reasons the seller is moving is moving might be the same reasons that the home wouldn’t be a good fit for you but you haven’t considered yet. Also, maybe the home is a great fit for your needs, but knowing the answer to that question can give you extra insight into the house, neighbors or neighborhood!
If you have any questions about real estate or are thinking of buying a home, drop me a note or call me and I’d be happy to help!