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This form is used by a buyer or a buyer’s agent when attending an open house, to provide a checklist for conducting an interview with the seller’s agent and gathering information about conditions of the property, its financing, the seller and the surrounding area.


Your use of RPI Form 320-2

Analytical tools for agents of buyers and tenants

An agent of a buyer or tenant is duty-bound to check out available properties to purchase or lease since they are employed to located property most likely to satisfy their client’s needs. The agency rule is “know what you are peddling so not to mislead the buyer or tenant.” [Jue v. Smiser (1994) 23 CA4th 312]

When a property the agent locates appeals to the client, the agent needs to look into the property’s ownership and its physical and title conditions to collect information for review with their client before the client can intelligently decide the optimal price or rent they are willing to pay.

To consider the depth of this agent duty to consumers of real estate services, be aware that buyers and tenants over the past few decades have become fully dependent on agents for their purchase or leasing real estate. Rarely do participants in property transactions directly contact other principals themselves — relics of the past. Very few direct contacts between owners and users occur. Thus, agents have become, essentially, the gatekeepers for a consumer’s entry into a real estate transaction.

Part of properly representing a buyer or tenant is to note that a client’s nexus to determining a property’s usefulness and worth for their purposes is solely their agent who gathers information the client needs to make an informed decision about their purchase or lease.

An agent representing a client seeking property for purchase or lease gathers critical transaction information by interviewing the seller or seller’s agent about the property’s condition, rent or price, conditions in the surrounding area and overall suitability for the client’s purposes.

A homebuyer’s agent attending an open house uses the Open House Agent Interview Sheet to document their observations and discussions about the property. The form is a guide the buyer’s agent to conduct an interview with the seller’s agent or other representative. The purpose served by the form is to provide:

  • an investigation checklist of meaningful property conditions, existing mortgage financing, surrounding neighborhood and the seller’s motivation;
  • a framework for asking questions to gather the information; and
  • documentation for what was gleaned from observations and conversations as proof of a diligent, non-negligent effort. [See RPI Form 320-2]

Questions to ask in an open house

During an open house of a single family residential property an agent believes might meet their buyer’s needs for ownership, the buyer’s agent collects and notes information for review with their buyer, including:

Information about the seller includes:

  • their reason for selling, as this gives an indication of how motivated the seller is to sell promptly;
  • where they are relocating after the sale;
  • when they are vacating and when the property will be available for possession;
  • their profession;
  • any nonprofessional relationship they may have with the buyer’s agent;
  • civic organizations in which they are a member;
  • marital status and location of other family members;
  • health condition;
  • any litigations; and
  • other properties owned. [See RPI Form 320-2 §§1.1 through 1.10]

Information about the property includes:

  • when the property was acquired;
  • the age of the property;
  • specifics about the property, such as square footage, lot size, bedrooms, bathrooms, roof type, exterior, patio, garage, type of construction, landfill and landscaping;
  • components of the property with upgrades, when it was installed and the condition of the improvements;
  • whether a hazard insurance claim was conducted within five years;
  • any city certifications, including retrofitting/ordinance compliance;
  • zoning and use restrictions;
  • service providers for the property;
  • whether a marketing package was received for the property;
  • whether a natural hazard disclosure (NHD) was received [See RPI Form 314];
  • whether a transfer disclosure statement (TDS) was received [See RPI Form 304];
  • a termite or pest report;
  • property operating costs contained in an annual property operating data sheet (APOD) [See RPI Form 352];
  • security and crime at or around the property;
  • whether a multiple listing service (MLS) printout exists for the property;
  • whether a title profile was obtained;
  • who the owner is vested on title;
  • any Mello-Roos bonds and the amount;
  • the rental value; and
  • whether the property is located in a common interest development (CID). [See RPI Form 320-2 §§2.1 through 2.19]

Information about the location/neighborhood includes:

  • a description of the neighborhood;
  • traffic and bus stops;
  • non-single family residential (SFR) zoning nearby;
  • noise levels;
  • area amenities, such as schools, shopping, banks and business offices;
  • the number of homes of equal value in the neighborhood;
  • the number of homes of greater value in the neighborhood; and
  • the number of homes of lesser value in the neighborhood. [See RPI Form 320-2 §§3.1 through 3.8]

Information regarding third parties with knowledge of the property includes:

  • the existence of any prior offers to buy the property;
  • why the offer was not accepted;
  • whether any other agents viewed the property;
  • whether neighbors visited the property or open house;
  • police information on neighborhood security [See RPI Form 321];
  • foot and street traffic in the neighborhood; and
  • whether any notoriously difficult neighbors exist in the neighborhood. [See RPI Form 320-2 §§4.1 through 4.6]

Information about the terms of sale includes:

  • the listing price;
  • whether the listing price was reduced, and if so, when the price was adjusted;
  • the expected sale price;
  • the fair market value (FMV);
  • the price originally paid;
  • existing financing; and
  • the seller’s conditions for new financing. [See RPI Form 320-2 §§5.1 through 5.4]

Miscellaneous questions to ask at an open house includes:

  • whether a tenant is in occupancy;
  • the name of the listing agent;
  • whether there are any problems working with the buyer’s agent; and
  • how the open house agent is being paid. [See RPI Form 320-2 §§6.1 through 6.5]

Armed with a complete and detailed profile of the owner, the neighborhood and the condition of the property selected for the agent’s review with their buyer or tenant, the collected data and information contributes to a decision on the suitability of a property and what price and terms to offer for the purchase or lease of the property.

Revision history

Form navigation page published 04-2023.

Form last revised 2011.