Open House Checklist for Waltham Buyers
With the current housing market buyers are feeling the pressure between high interest rates and the inventory. It can be a stressful time to find your perfect home to begin with. However, having a Waltham real estate agent by your side can make all the difference. A professional in the real estate field will be able to provide insight into current market conditions along with making the process as smooth as possible.
This competitive market can be stressful. If you are planning to attend an open house, you will want to be prepared, so you can make a quick offer and avoid panic buying.
How To Attend an Open House as a Home Buyer
First things first: feel free to dress comfortably for an open house, as there could be wandering and stair climbing involved. Bring a notebook to keep track of aspects of the property that you love and would like to see changed. Some may even plan to bring a tape measure for specific aspects of the home and that is completely fine and up to you. If you have already been preapproved for a mortgage, you might consider bridging your documentation along to show that you are a serious buyer. However, it is not really necessary unless you are considering submitting an offer on site.
A few etiquette tips: Leave any pets or rambunctious little ones at home. Do sign in when you arrive, even if you are working with an agent, it is ok to let the seller’s agent know that if they inquire. Lastly, if you want to snap a few pictures of the home as you walk through be sure to ask before doing so.
What To Look For
Do not let fancy staging or tasty treats sidetrack you from the goal at hand. You will want to look beyond the home’s surface appearance to determine if it will be a good investment, and a good match for your needs. Take a lot of notes, jotting down anything that strikes you, whether it being positively or negatively. Homes can start to blend together when you are moving from one open house to the next. You want to make sure what made this particular home stand out to you.
If you are planning to work from home or have hobbies that require dedicated space, be sure to look for areas that can accommodate them. You do not want to move in only to realize that there is nowhere to put your desk or set up a crafting table.
What To Ask About
If you have any pressing questions about the property, now is the time to ask them. For instance, you may want to know more about the schools in the area or nearby recreational facilities. A good question to ask the seller is why they are interested in selling the home. This is a great way to gauge if they are serious about selling their home or just testing the market.
Some other important questions to ask during the open house is when the seller plans to review offers and if they need post-occupancy once the home is sold. Be sure to inquire about the roof and A/C or heating systems especially if they are originals. This will keep you prepared on if and when you will need to replace them.
Open House Checklist for Buyers
Here is a handy checklist of items to examine during your open house visit. Bring it with you and check things off the list as you make your way through the home, so you do not forget anything essential.
Appliances: Are they in good condition?
Cabinets: Is there sufficient cabinet space in the kitchen and bathrooms? Keep a close eye on cabinets under sinks for mold or water damage.
Ceilings: Look for water damage or mold
Electrical Outlets: Are there enough of them, and are they conveniently located?
Flooring: Be on the lookout for warped floorboards, cracked tiles, etc.
Landscaping: Landscaping can be expensive, is the yard in good shape?
Light Switches: Flip them to make sure they all work
Outbuildings: Be sure to check on any structures outside the home, like a shed or garage.
Room size: Is each room big enough to accommodate the furniture you envision in there?
Storage space: Are there enough closets to store all your belongings? And are they conveniently placed?
Windows: What direction do the windows face? Is the view that you will enjoy, and does it allow enough sunlight to come in?
With this checklist in mind it will be easy to spot anything out of place or that does not fit your idea for your home. Let’s go over some red flags for an open house to be mindful for.
Open House Red Flags
Even if the home you are looking at looks great on the surface, it may not be as lovely as it appears. After all, the seller is trying to present their home in the next possible light for this event. While at an open house, pay attention to what others are saying about the property. They may have insights on the home, neighborhood or schools that you were not aware of.
Some warning signs to be aware of include outside nuisances, like noisy streets, barking dogs or unruly neighborhood children. Be sure to take notes with anything that does not sit right with you. Odd furniture placement could be hiding cracked plaster or a damaged floor, trust your instincts.
Trust Your Instincts & Trust a Waltham Real Estate Agent
Hans has been working in the real estate industry for decades now and has extensive knowledge of the Waltham area. If you are looking around at open houses and are not too sure about one be sure to contact a trusted professional like Hans. You can get in contact directly with Hans by calling him at 617-968-0022 or by filling out a contact form on his website
The Best Time of Year to Buy a Waltham House
Does the time of year actually matter when buying a house? The short answer: yes and no. Seasonality tends to affect factors such as inventory and purchase price. During the spring time inventory is plentiful, but competition among buyers may cause prices to rise. By contrast, home prices may be lower during the winter months, but inventory is usually limited. Seasonality can influence the process of moving as well depending on the weather.
The best time to purchase a home is not always when inventory is at its peak or when price has hit its low for the year. Sure, these are important factors to consider, but the broader market conditions and your personal needs also play a role. The truth of it is you can find houses during any season. Determining the best time to jump into homeownership means understanding the pros and cons of buying a house at different times and deciding when it is best for you. Let’s look at how the time of year affects home buying.
Buying a Waltham House in The Winter
Winter is usually the cheapest time of the year to purchase a Waltham home. Sellers are often more motivated, which automatically translates into an advantage for you. Most people suspend their listings from around Thanksgiving to the New Year because they assume buyers are scarce. However, sellers that are listing during this time usually mean that they want to sell their home as soon as possible. Theft may even be more willing to throw in extra perks such as appliances and window treatments to get the deal done.
However, just because prices are cheaper does not mean inventory is at a high. Winter may also mean that you may have to navigate house hunting and open houses in less than ideal weather, depending on which part of the country you live in. You may not even see a property in full bloom during this time of the year. Winter season can bring inconveniences during the process. For example your inspector may have a hard time gauging if the roof is in good condition if there is snow all over it.
Despite these challenges during the winter season, the closing process tends to be speedier. Lenders
process fewer applications during this season as well. Waltham real estate agents are more accessible, and inspections have less backlog.
Buying a Waltham House in The Spring
Spring is a hot time of the year when it comes to the real estate market. The warm weather and end of the school year tends to draw out sellers and buyers in doves, which creates a healthy marketplace. This time of year has its pros and cons if you are looking for a new home. You will have plenty of inventory to look at, but that means so does your competition. You may even find yourself in a bidding war during this time of the year.
One of the simple reasons house inventory tends to increase with the temperature is because hoses show better. The trees and flowers are in bloom, and grass turns green again. Houses look much better in the spring sunlight. Home prices may be top dollar but buying in the spring is popular for a lot of reasons. Families are looking to get settled before a new school year, there is more time to shop for a home together and the weather makes it an overall more enjoyable experience.
Buying a Waltham House in The Summer
The summer season is still a busy time from the spring rush, but you can get a great deal if you are willing to sit tight until the end of summer. Expect to come in with a strong offer and not just on price. Sellers are looking for a serious buyer during this time of year, that leaves them time to sell their home and use it to purchase another. There is a better chance you can time your sale and purchase together since lots of buyers are on the hunt.
In most areas the market slows down a bit as it gets closer to August. Late August traditionally gives you a great opportunity to find deals, because sellers slash prices even further. Do not blow off the houses that have sat on the market during the spring and summer selling seasons. There are numerous reasons why a home might not have sold. Be sure to do your own research and walk of the property with your Waltham realtor to get a proper analysis.
Location matters when you purchase in the summer. The early days of summer are considered peak real estate season in the U.S., but it is not true in all areas of the country. Florida is a great example, the temperature and humidity in the Sunshine State skyrockets in July and August. Leaving you with a less pleasurable experience during these months.
Buying a Waltham House in The Fall
Outside of winter, a fall purchase can be ideal for cash strapped home buyers. Once summer ends, sellers get more motivated. During this time the market typically sees lower prices and provides an opportunity to get a deal done. The same as in the winter season there is less inventory. Many sellers want to avoid moving during the holiday season, which gives you more room to negotiate when you do decide to make an offer.
There is also fewer buyers during the fall seasons. People, particularly parents who have looked during the spring and summer typically want to be settled into a home before school begins. Once the fall kicks in, they tend to put home shopping on hold until the next spring. Being patient till October can leave you in a great opportunity to get the most bang for your buck. This is particularly true of sellers who want to sell their home and get a tax write off before the end of the year.
Contact a Waltham Real Estate Agent Today
If you are looking to find your new home and do not know when the best time to buy is, then look no further than Hans. He has decades of experience when it comes to Massachusetts real estate. Get in direct contact with him by calling him at 781-891-9993 or by filling out a contact form on the website.