Open houses are beneficial for many reasons. Not only do they allow you to assess the value of a property up close and personal, but can also help you set a realistic budget. There’s a reason why reality real estate shows like “Property Brothers” begin by showing homebuyers unrealistic homes that have everything they want, but are wildly out of their financial reach. Open houses show you what you can get for your money in a particular area. If you’re planning on attending some open houses, here are a few tips:
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Get To Know Your Real Estate Agent
Open houses are the perfect opportunity to meet potential real estate agents, and learn more about whether that agent is the right fit. After all, a great agent can make or break your home buying experience. At open houses, you’ll be able to see how agents interact with their guests, as well as learn more about other properties they have that may be of an interest to you. This is an informal way of getting to know them without needing to coordinate with their schedule for a meeting.
Learn From The Crowd
One look at the sign-up sheet at an open house says a lot about the competition. If you notice there’s a large crowd, this can help you gauge how fast you need to act if you really like the place.
An open house that has more than twenty interested individuals indicates that you need to submit your offer sooner than later, while an open house with just a handful allows you some cushion to take time with your decision. In some cases, curious neighbors will also make an appearance, and this is a great opportunity to talk to them about the community.
Dig Beyond The Listing Data
A home listing will tell you all the great things you need to know about a property. But when you’re physically on site, you get to dig a little deeper. Turn on the faucets to check the water pressure, open closets, and take a look under cabinets and around furniture. If there are any hidden issues, this would be the time to find them.
Keep Personal Feelings Private
The real estate agent hosting the open house typically works for the seller (or is the seller), plain and simple. While great real estate do their best to make everyone in the deal happy, sometimes what you say can hurt you in the long-run. It’s important to understand that you can show your personality and enthusiasm without saying too much.
For example, if you voice optimistic opinions with statements like, “My husband is going to love this!”, it could influence other visitors to act fast, or hurt your ability to make a lower offer because the buyer knows your interest runs deep. Similarly, you want to refrain from discussing your financial budget and timeline. This could also make it difficult to negotiate favorably. When it comes to open houses, practice your poker face.
Focus On Main Features
When you go into any open house, it’s natural to have high expectations of what your seeing. And it’s easy to get lost in the little features, like faded kitchen cabinets, bits of peeling wallpaper, or outdated carpet. However, it’s important that you pay attention to big-ticket features over anything else. Other smaller details can be easily fixed, but bigger issues, like low water pressure or a leaky ceiling, can be more troublesome to take care of. Don’t be underwhelmed if the property doesn’t have all the cosmetic fixtures you’re looking for; any home, no matter how outdated, can be renovated to your ideal aesthetic.
Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Refrain from going into an open house blindly. Pay attention to key information on the listing––especially Days on Market. How long a property has been listed on the market is telling, and reveals the popularity of that property and its chances of selling soon. Additionally, properties that you notice have been on the market for a while are more likely to go lower than the listing price.
You’ll also want to research nearby schools, transportation, and crime. Attending open houses is already time-consuming, and you don’t want to check out a house that doesn’t meet your most basic criteria.
Be Open About Your Intentions
While this may seem like an antithesis to the previous tip, being open about your intentions doesn’t mean you have to reveal key information. For example, if you’re just browsing, but aren’t serious about buying, mention this. It’s not uncommon for those who are considering purchasing a home to start vetting the market early, and agents will appreciate you being upfront and offer their cards for future services.
Invite Your Agent
If you already have an agent, invite them to come to the open house with you. This ensures that you and your agent are on the same page, and the both of you can learn a lot in the process. The agent can gain a better understanding of your pros and cons, while you can learn more about the market and real estate etiquette from your agent. Additionally, you can let your agent do the talking when it comes to numbers and negotiation.
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