Many people love going to Sunday open houses, whether they’re looking to find a home or merely enjoy seeing what’s out there. Open houses are also an excellent way for real estate agents to meet potential buyers who happen to walk in and are ready to make an offer at an open house.
As fun as open houses can be, it’s important to make sure they are efficient and thorough. They require a lot of investment – of time, of energy, of effort – so read below in order to see how you can get the most of your tours.
Have a Plan
First things first: how do open houses work? An open house allows the seller and Realtor® to show a property to multiple people interested in buying a home.
Does open house mean drop-in? Yes. The seller’s agent or the listing agent advertises the open house and opens the home for a few hours, so interested buyers may freely drop in, look around, and ask questions.
Because this time is designated for both buyer and seller, it’s important for potential buyers to come prepared. Bring along anything you think you might need to evaluate the property, such as a measuring tape, a camera, a flashlight, and some color samples of paint.
Be sure to have a notebook and a pen handy to capture information and the responses to your inquiries. It may be beneficial to have your agent there if you are already working with one.
The questions that prospective homeowners should ask during an open house are, for the most part, the same ones that they should ask when looking at any property. You need to gather as much information as you can about the state of the house, how long it has been on the market, any home improvements made, and any significant problems that the house may have had in the past.
It is also a good idea to find out how many bids the selling agent currently has since this will give you a sense of how competitive the market is for this particular house.
Realtors® and individuals buying a house are responsible for maintaining open house etiquette during open houses. Before you investigate another person’s home, you should understand what to expect from the agent who keeps the place open and avoid going beyond any boundaries.
Not all Realtors® conduct the same way, so it is difficult to predict who will answer the door. It may even be the seller.
However, you are not required to ring the doorbell or knock on the door unless there is a sign asking you to do so. Otherwise, please open the door and enter.
It would be best to hold off on entering a room until all of the other guests have left before you do so. In the meantime, there might be a large amount of space outside available for exploration.
Also, don’t forget to mind your manners. You are not permitted to use the restrooms or open drawers, cabinets, refrigerators, or closed doors. Don’t sit or lie on the furniture, rifle through things that aren’t yours, or wear shoes on carpets or rugs. In most instances, people still reside in the house, making it invasive for you to visit.
An open house is a casual gathering; therefore, no need to don high heels or ties. Avoid flip-flops, swimming suit tops, and worn-out sweatpants. Muddy work boots or shoes are also a serious faux-pas. Dressing decently is one of our expert tips to increase the chances for the agent to take you seriously if you want to purchase.
Lastly, try not to take too much of the agent’s time. Just make sure you have their business card if you are keen to buy a home and have many detailed questions. You can always get back to them later.
Take a Listing Sheet
Nearly every open house you attend will provide you with a listing sheet that you can take home. For convenience, the listing sheet will include images of the house and all of the essential information about the property such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the price breakdown, the total square footage, and other comps in the neighborhood. It’s best to take a listing sheet at each open house.
Depending on how many open houses you go to, the differences between the properties you see will start to become less distinct in your memory. You can comment on anything you see during your inspection that the owner may not have included in the ad. Is the flooring in a bit of a rough shape? Write that down.
The next step is to place all of your listing sheets in a folder. This organization will allow you to maintain a sense of order throughout your dream home search and make it simple to go back over what you’ve found so far.
Don’t Fall in Love With Decor
Many sellers are becoming more adept at staging these days. They know that they can hire professional services to expertly stage their house to entice prospective buyers and enable them to fetch a higher sale price.
If you find yourself liking a home simply because you like the furniture or the wallpaper in the bathroom, you aren’t focusing enough on the important details of the home. Attending open houses should help you acquire a critical eye. Be on the watch for indications that the home for sale has underlying problems or aged systems that will be costly to fix for the next owner.
What is the roof’s age? Is that mold on the ceiling? Are there any cracked tiles in the bathroom? How old is the HVAC system?
These aspects are far more important than the wall color or furniture choices. Mirrors to make a space seem bigger, meticulously placed flowers and plants, and powerful scents to mask odors are indicators of excellent staging. Be on guard, though be sure not to snoop. The inside of a medicine cabinet is none of your business, though the state of the wood floors definitely is!
It’s unnecessary for you to tell the agent or homeowner how your home search is going. Keep your position strong by not revealing all your cards.
Share a level of interest and ask any questions you need to ask, but don’t feel the need to share how much you’ve been approved for a loan, whether you have missed out on any offers, or any other personal information.
Are You Ready to Look at Homes?
These are just a few open house tips on conducting yourself when you tour a home. The individual selling the house is excited to show it to prospective buyers, but keep in mind that it is still their home. Make sure you clean your feet, don’t leave trash behind, and respect the property as you would if you were selling your home.
Additionally, make sure you walk in with a plan. Treat this as an opportunity to ask any questions you can’t glean from a website listing. Be strategic, quick, and thoughtful as you tour your potential new home.