Open houses are the best way to see if a space matches your needs by providing time for you to explore and giving insight into the neighborhood and types of people who are drawn to the area. Whether you are just starting your search or have been in the market for a while, these tips will help ensure a positive open house experience so that you can find your dream home.
Tip #1: Create a Game Plan
First, research properties online and compile a list of your must-sees while making sure to note specific facts such as rates, fees, etc. The key is to make sure that all open houses you plan to attend in a given day are in the same area, as timing is crucial. Make sure that you allow enough time to adequately look around while taking travel time into account. Also, make sure that you arrive at open houses during the beginning of the allotted time, as that will ensure a smaller crowd and more time with the agent. Finally, dress appropriately, usually business causal is key.
Tip #2: Focus on the Property
Image via Flickr by Milestone Management
Well-maintained landscaping, common areas, and exteriors show how well-kept the building is as well as indicating repairs that may be needed. When inside, look all around to make sure that there are no visible holes or damages. Also, note square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and special features in addition to looking through all storage spaces. Ask about appliances and make sure paperwork on warranties has been kept. Lastly, when walking through, visualize yourself living there.
Tip #3: Ask Questions and Listen Intently
Ask probing questions about the seller’s motivation, the reputation of the neighborhood, and nearby amenities. This is your chance to get to know the property. Also, take advantage of the crowd by politely listening to conversations. While they are your competition, they can provide insight on something that you may not have noticed or asked about.
Tip #4: Keep a Poker Face
When talking to the agent, don’t disclose personal information such as your current housing situation, financial status, or moving timeframe. Remember that the agent works for the seller, and anything you say will be reported back. Forming a positive relationship is important, but keep your topic focused on the property while keeping your interest at bay. If you seem too eager and excited, you may lose all leverage as a buyer. If interested, make sure to call your buyers agent soon after you leave.
Tip #5: Evaluating the Property
Avoid any criticism about the property until you are in the privacy of your car of back on the street. If the agent or others overhear negative comments, it can come back to haunt you. If this property isn’t for you, the agent may be. Open houses are a good way to find a potential agent as eventually they will become your house hunting partner and you want to ensure that you have the best one for you.