An open house is when a home seller or their listing agent schedules a time to open the doors of a property on the market to be seen by potential buyers. During an open house, the seller or the seller’s real estate agent will host interested buyers and let them walk through the property.\n\nAs a prospective buyer, an open house is an opportunity for you to get up close and personal with a property. It’s also an opportunity to meet the seller’s agent. You can ask strategic questions to determine if you’d be interested in submitting an offer. The feedback homeowners receive from open houses may also result in them adjusting the asking price of the property or making simple cosmetic fixes, like a change in the landscaping or paint color.\nIt can be easy for home buyers to forget to ask important questions at an open house, which is why it is important to have a checklist. Here is a list of questions to ask at the next open house you visit. \n\n1. __How long has the home been on the market?__\nIf the home has been on the market for a while, there may be a reason. This information may be available online, but the seller’s agent will be able to put this into context. A long time on the market isn’t always a red flag. It is possible a buyer made an offer on the home which the sellers accepted, but financing fell through. \n2. __Why is the owner selling?__\nAn agent might be reluctant to tell you that the sellers are moving out of the property because of troubles with the neighborhood, bad schools, or high crime rates, but it’s a necessary question to ask. It is possible the sellers would simply like a change in scenery or need to move for work. \n3. __Have there been any price reductions since the home has been on the market?__\nThere are a number of reasons that a seller will reduce the price of their property. Perhaps they’re in a rush to move. Maybe they’re finding it difficult to find a buyer. Either way, this information is valuable. If the agent admits the seller had to lower the price of the home because they are on a tight timeline, you may be able to use this to your advantage to negotiate an even lower offer. \n4. __Are there any issues that the current owner encountered?__ \nIt’s important to get an accurate sense of the potential pain points of the house from the people who have lived there. Perhaps they’re struggling with noisy neighbors, low-flying planes, or heavy rush-hour traffic. Get a sense of how the owner dealt with these issues, and whether they’re ongoing. \n5. __Where is the property line?__\nYou might be checking out a property with a seemingly large yard that looks perfect for a pool. If this is a selling point for you, make sure to ask where the property line is. Getting a sense of a property’s [boundary lines](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/boundary-survey-guide) will give you an accurate sense of how much land you can improve. \n6. __What renovations have been made to the property?__\nMake sure to inquire about additions made to the property. Ask if these renovations were DIY or professional. Find out when the renovations were done and if they were permitted. If protocols or codes were disregarded when the previous owner built an extension, you may be required to tear it down. Updates made to the home like fresh coats of paint and window treatments may be obvious, but things like the age of the roof and HVAC installation will need further inspection. \n7. __Do the appliances sell with the home?__\nBrand new appliances can add value to a home provided that they actually come with the home. If the appliances come with the home, ask how old they are and if they are functional. See if they are currently under warranty. \n8. __What’s within walking or short driving distance of the property?__ \nA helpful way to gauge the neighborhood of a property is to ask the sellers what is nearby. Ask about favorite diners, restaurants, or bars, and then move on to supermarkets, theaters, and everything else that you may want to know about the local geography. \n9. __Is there a homeowner’s association?__\nCertain communities will have homeowners’ associations that charge fees for the upkeep of neighborhood infrastructure and communal amenities. They can make an area pleasant to live in, but they can be expensive and restrict the way you landscape or style the exterior of your home. Ask what the HOA dues are, and ask what the CC\u0026Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) for the neighborhood to get a sense of the costs and prohibitions of the area. \n10. __What kind of shape is the home in?__ \nYou want to get as much information about the state of the home as you possibly can. It’s important to know when the home was built, its renovation history, and its structure. Get a sense of whether it’s been tested for radon or asbestos, especially if it was built before 1978. Are there any major structural problems? Ask about drainage problems, and whether the roof is in good condition. Request a copy of the seller’s property disclosure statement, which outlines any number of issues that might impact the home’s value. A house’s history of insurance claims may affect the rates of your homeowner’s insurance as well. You may find the property is in a flood zone, or potentially vulnerable to other natural disasters. \n11. __What is the seller’s timeline?__\nIf you’re interested in the house you should get a sense of the seller’s timeline. You don’t want to miss out on your new house because you didn’t move quickly enough. Ask whether any other [offers](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-an-offer-on-a-house) have been made and whether they’re being seriously considered.\nAll investments, including real estate investments, come with inherent risks which may involve the depreciation of assets, financial losses, or legal ramifications. The information presented in this article is for educational, informational, and referential purposes only. Consult a licensed real estate or financial professional before making any legal or financial commitments.\nAll you need is a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and our exclusive video lessons from prolific entrepreneur Robert Reffkin, the founder and CEO of the real estate technology company Compass. With Robert’s help, you’ll learn all about the intricacies of buying a home, from securing a mortgage to hiring an agent to tips for putting your own place on the market. \nKnowing the right questions to ask at an open house can help you choose the right home for you and your family.