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Planning on visiting some open homes this weekend? In order to get the most out of your visit, it’s important to ask the agent these top 5 questions.

1. Are there any known issues with the property?

If you’re planning on purchasing an older home, it’s important to familiarise yourself with any known issues of the property. This will allow you to determine the cost in repairing these issues and to factor the repair cost into your offer. The real estate agent should be upfront with you regarding any known issues; however, you should also do your own research. This means getting a building and pest inspection carried out and have a conveyancer or solicitor look over the strata report.

2. Why are the owners selling?

It’s a good idea to know why the vendors are selling so when it comes time to negotiating the price of the property you have a greater understanding of their urgency to sell. For example, a vendor might already have their new home lined up and they need the sale of this property to settle their new one.

On the other hand, the vendors may be looking to downsize and therefore they aren’t in a rush to sell. Having this knowledge will help you greatly when it comes time to negotiating.

3. What are the terms of sale?

A vendor might want a longer or shorter settlement period depending on their circumstances. It’s good to understand what terms you must adhere to before you sign the dotted line. If the terms don’t suit you, there may be an opportunity to negotiate a more suitable situation for both parties.

4. Have you received any offers yet?

Asking the agent if the vendors have received any offers yet, gives you an indication of the level of interest in the property and whether it’s accurately priced or not. This is valuable information for when you’re working out how much to offer.

5. How long has the property been on the market?

This question will help determine whether you have the ability to negotiate a lower offer. Generally speaking, most vendors will be more eager to accept an offer if the property has been on the market for a while.

Remember though there is always a reason why it hasn’t sold yet. Ask yourself or the agent, was the price advertised too high? Are there any issues with the property that you don’t know about? Or are there planned changes to the neighbourhood that you aren’t aware of. It’s really important to be thorough with all of your checks first.