Spring, in the realty world, is buying season. It Makes a massive influx of homebuyers and sellers all searching for the best offer. A major aspect of this is the open house, and though this can be a great way to learn more about a specific house or market, it can be overwhelming and most people aren’t really sure what they’re doing. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of open houses, no matter how experienced or how serious you are about buying.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Numbers
Aa some open houses, it’s hard to breathe. Rooms can be packed wall-to-wall and it’s difficult to see exactly what the house looks like. Others are empty, and it can feel awkward to be the only one looking through someone else’s home in near silence. Either way, don’t be fooled. Listing agents want to show more traffic to impress the current owners, but it’s quality, not quantity, that counts in real estate. If you go to an open house filled with people, your chances of getting that house aren’t lost. Most of the people there won’t put in an offer, especially if they don’t have a real estate agent with them (the quickest way to tell if they are serious buyers or not). If it’s nearly empty, your chances are certainly higher, but it only takes one interested buyer to seal the deal. You can never know what your chances are with certainty, so the best thing you can do is to be honest with the seller. If you want it, put in an offer you afford, and let the situation progress as it will.
It doesn’t matter if the listing agent looks like they might be too busy to help you. It’s their job. If you have a question, it’s important to answer them. Open houses aren’t like window shopping. Consider it a sort of dry run in which you get a feel for every aspect of the property and learn everything you can before making your purchase decision. Some of those questions can’t be answered online or by looking throughout the house, so ask as many questions as you have. Don’t be afraid if your questions come across as naive, either. They are the expert, and when it comes to this important of an investment, they are a great resource.
Don’t Stop at One
During the spring especially, there are open houses everywhere. Don’t settle on the first house you look at. You’ll regret it later. Remember, this is a massive financial decision, and making the wrong choice could have huge consequences. If the first house you look at is exactly what you’ve always wanted, that’s wonderful, but attending a few more open houses could show you something you never realized you wanted. Most real estate companies make it easy to find open houses in your area. Valley Brokers, for example, has an easily-identified link to their full list of open houses right on their home page, so there are no excuses for settling.
Refine Your Taste and Learn the Market
Another perk of attending multiple open houses is what you learn about both yourself and the market. Attending open houses gives you a sense of different styles out there for decorating, architecture, floor plans, etc. Once you’ve seen a few, you’ll have a much better sense of exactly what you want than you did when you started. It’ll also give you an idea of what the market is like. Pay attention to the square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, if it has a pool, etc. and compare that to the price. Get a feel for what is worth what. The more educated you are on the market, the better equipped you’ll be when buying your house.
Discuss the House ASAP
As soon as you leave each room, your mind begins to forget. The longer you wait to talk about what you did and didn’t like about the house, the worse off you’ll be. Another good solution to this is to take notes. Take a listing sheet and scribble your thoughts down so you’ll remember later. Even still, going over what you thought about the property as soon as you can after is always a good idea. Your memory is fresher, the open house may still be going on if you have more questions, and putting in an offer quickly always helps your chances.