Ready to turn those open house visits into a masterclass in dream home discovery? We’ve carefully listed the 10+ must-ask questions to find your dream home during an open house in Toronto will transform your casual walkthroughs into strategic sessions for landing your perfect Toronto abode.
As you gear up to attend those open houses (because, honestly, it’s like window shopping for your future), imagine each visit as a chance to decode the secrets of your dream home. Sipping on your almond milk latte or perfecting your Instagram filters? These questions will be your secret weapon.
What Does Open House Mean in Toronto?
An open house is a scheduled time to swing by and check out a potential new pad. It’s a chance to see if the place vibes with you and could be your next home sweet home. If you’re into it, it might even lead to putting an offer on the table. Plus, it’s a heads-up for the realtor in case any tweaks are needed in the space. So, it’s a cool opportunity to check out your next digs.
What Questions to Ask When Looking at a New Home During an Open House
Buying a home is a significant investment, so asking the right questions is crucial for an informed decision. Here are the top questions for this weekend’s open house to avoid surprises and ensure your investment aligns with your needs and budget.
1. Why is the house for sale?
Every seller has a unique motivation for putting their home on the market. It could be a new job, a desire to be closer to family, or simply a financial decision.
Addressing this crucial question from the start enables you to uncover potential challenges with the property. For example, if the seller is hesitant about tackling repairs, like fixing a crack in the foundation, it gives you insights into their perspective.
2. How long has the house been on the market?
When a home lingers on the market, it could signal a few possibilities:
- There might be underlying issues that previous potential buyers have discovered.
- The seller might be reluctant to negotiate, or
- The broader real estate market may have slowed down (perhaps due to recent interest rate hikes, making houses cheaper to buy but pricier to own).
If a house has been available for sale for an extended period, there could be an opportunity for negotiation, as the seller may be more open to discussions.
3. What is included in the home sale?
Sellers don’t automatically toss in stuff like fridges, stoves, or dishwashers unless they’re built-in. So, find out what’s up for grabs in the sale and what they might be down to include if the price is right.
Is it a plug-and-play situation, or are you looking at a blank canvas that needs some IKEA items? Find out if you need to separately snag appliances, blinds, curtains, and furniture.
4. Did the seller make any renovations or additions to the house?
Upgrades? They’re fantastic. But you have to ensure those expansions or big renovations were done right.
Some sellers might pull a quick, budget-friendly upgrade stunt to boost the sale price. It’s not the norm, but it happens. If the property went through some significant glow-up, hit up the seller for the details on the folks behind it.
5. Are there any safety or health hazards?
When snagging a new pad, it’s crucial to rule out any sneaky asbestos or lead paint hanging around. Even though these materials are outdated, they might still be kicking it in older cribs.
Sellers are supposed to disclose most safety hazards they know about. But you still don’t want any unexpected curveballs in your new digs, so go all-in on that top-notch inspection. And before you call a place home, make sure it’s not a hangout spot for rodents, insects, or any uninvited mould and moisture damage.
6. Is the home still under warranty?
If you’re eyeing a pretty new crib (less than a decade old), there’s a chance it’s still rocking that warranty vibe. Builders usually throw in a warranty when they construct a fresh home.
Just a heads up: you might need the seller to pass on that warranty to you. So, before sealing the deal, know whether the home has a warranty and if it’s ready to roll with you.
7. How many offers has the seller received?
If you’ve noticed a trail of rejected offers, it might be worth chatting with the listing agent to uncover why these deals never sealed the deal.
Now, if there are active offers in the mix, that’s your cue to hustle and bring your A-game with the best offer. On the flip side, if there’s no bidding war in play, you have room to breathe, take your time to strategize and navigate the deal at your own pace.
8. What type of heating system is installed on the property?
In Canada, the forced-air furnace is the most common home heating system. Yet, you’ll stumble upon homes boasting radiant floor heating, baseboard heaters, fireplaces, or even a blend of these.
Older systems can spike insurance costs and pose risks like frozen pipes. Plus, your system’s type and age can impact monthly bills.
9. Is there a HOA
Always inquire about the home’s connection to a homeowner’s association (HOA). These are prevalent in suburban neighbourhoods and come with rules, regulations, and fees for residents.
If the home is part of an HOA, get the name and dig into their policies. Also, determine the monthly or annual dues and what amenities those fees cover.
10. What is the history of insurance claims?
Understanding the house’s insurance claim history is crucial for two reasons.
First, it provides insights into potential risks for your new home, such as a history of water damage claims indicating possible plumbing or basement issues. Second, it helps set your budget, as a problematic history may result in higher insurance premiums than anticipated.
11. What is the neighbourhood like?
Befriending neighbours might not be your thing, and that’s cool. However, even if socializing isn’t on the agenda, having an idea of your potential neighbours is a good call when settling into your new home.
If you’re up for it, knocking on doors is an option to meet the locals. Alternatively, you can reach out to the sellers and inquire about their thoughts on the neighbours and the overall vibe of the neighbourhood.
12. Is the location prone to natural disasters?
While not all natural disasters are preventable, you can check if your potential new home is prone to flooding or wildfires. If your home is in a wildland/urban interface, it could be at risk from wildfires. In such cases, ensure the property is fire-safe or can be made so.
As you step into each open house armed with your questions, envision your life within those walls: the laughter in the living room, the aroma of home-cooked meals in the kitchen, and the quiet moments in your sanctuary. These questions are the key to unlocking the door to your dream home in the vibrant heart of Toronto.