How To Get The Most Out Of Your Open House Visit
Whether you're just curious about homes in your neighborhood OR you're actively looking for a home to buy, these tips will help you make the best of your open house experiences -
Ask The Agent Questions
Ok, this one seems obvious right? But you'd be surprised how often this doesn't happen. Ask the agent questions to learn more about the house and your local market. How fast are homes selling in the area? Ask what the price per square foot is of the home, which what comparable homes have sold for in the area recently. Most importantly, ASK for a business card if you're interested in possibly doing business with them in the future. Ask them which areas they cover and use open houses to begin the search for an agent you'd like to work with now or sometime in the future.
Get Familiar With Different Areas
Take note of your surroundings! Are you satisfied with the surrounding area? Is it too noisy? or too quiet? Do you seriously wish there were more parks in the area? What schools are nearby? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when visiting different open houses. Feel free to ask realtors questions about the neighborhood as well, but understand that it is illegal for a realtor to comment on whether a neighborhood is "good" or "bad". Always know that when buying a home you're also "buying" the neighborhood - always be observant of condition of the other homes in the neighborhood, as well as other small details (the speed at which cars are passing by the home is an example of one) as you're approaching the home.
What is the orientation of the home?
For some buyers, the direction in which the home is facing is a huge deal. The orientation of the home plays a major part in the home buying process for some cultures and religions. The direction of the home could also come into play regarding the amount of light from the sun the home receives and where that light shines in relation to the home. If you're a buyer that likes to watch the sunset every evening, a home with a east facing view may not be for you!
If you're working with a realtor
Have your realtor print out a list of open house suggestions which you should attend! Ask them which homes they believe are a good deal and how long they've been on the market/if there have been any price changes on ones you're interested in.
Understand pictures online are meant to GET YOU TO THE PROPERTY
What do I mean by this?
This is the truth. It's often forgotten that pictures never tell the full story. Its easy to fall in love with a property online, only to visit the property and realize it's either better than it looks in the pictures OR worse than it looks in the pictures. The only way to truly get an idea for the property is by going to the open house and viewing it personally. My experience is people often fall in love online and are sometimes heartbroken at the door. The last thing I would ever tell you is to not be excited during the home searching process, but I would advise that you avoid getting your heart broken.
This is an obvious one. A house is an emotional purchase for just about everyone- try as hard as you can to make that a "fun" or "exciting" emotion as much as possible.
Goodluck and happy open housing!
- Forrest Kretchmer