Be a Master Open House Visitor
By far and large, an open house is the best way to see a property before buying and to get a lot of questions answered about the property, the neighborhood and anything else that you may need to know in order to make a purchase decision. If you have never been to an open house before, you may not be sure what to ask, what you should inspect, and what to be on the lookout for.
Below are a few tips on how to be a master open house visitor the next time you visit a property!
Greet the Agent Host and Be Polite
We get that it can be a little bit intimidating or uncomfortable to walk into an open house. It’s people you’ve never met, in a home that’s foreign, but the beauty of an open house is that it’s just that—an open house, with no appointment time and usually other buyers perusing the property at the same time. Even if you don’t wish to sign in and give out any personal contact information, greet the agent host with a warm smile and a handshake. They are there to be helpful and guide you through the process.
Ask Before Taking Pictures or Video
It’s not uncommon for potential sellers to want to take photos or video of the homes they go to see. It’s a great way to get documentation about a property that you can later look at when making decisions, especially if you’re visiting multiple properties in a day. However, the proper open house visitor etiquette is to ask permission to take any photos or video. Not all open houses are bare and empty properties or staged with borrowed furniture, so you may be taking photos of the personal belongings of the seller.
Stay Focused on the Property
It’s important to remember that the open house is not intended to be a fun social hour. The point is to open the property up and allow visitors the opportunity to look through the property, ask any questions they may have, and narrow down some serious potential buyers. Stay focused on the property and, while you don’t need to be cold or non-conversational, try not to get caught up in too much personal chit-chat.
Be Careful of Staged Furniture
Many homes have staged furniture, so be careful when leaning or sitting down on any furniture. You can usually distinguish staged versus non-staged set ups, but it’s just something to be aware of before plopping down on the couch or bed.
Ask the Right Questions
An open house is all about getting questions answered, so be ready to ask the questions that you need answers to to make a decision. Here are some of common questions that buyers have found helpful to ask during an open house:
- How long has the house been on the market?
- Has the seller made any improvements?
- Are there any other offers or serious potential buyers?
- Is there an HOA and, if so, is there any feedback or important things to note about the HOA?
- What are the neighbors/neighborhood like?
- Are there any important things to note about the property?
- Is the seller open to other offers and negotiation?
It’s important to know that agents are always going to be carefully crafting answers to help sell the home, so if an answer doesn’t seem right or as genuine as it should be, that issue should be investigated further. While some agents may find these questions tedious, because they’re the kinds of questions they get multiple times during an open house, these are the important questions for you—the buyer—to have answered to help you decide. Yes, there will be a home inspection. No, the agent wouldn’t tell you that one of the neighbors is rude. But, it’s still important for you to ask these questions and get as much information as you can.
Listen to Other Buyers
If there are other potential buyers at the open house, listen to see what kinds of questions they ask and what they may have to say. If you’re new to that neighborhood or area, they may be able to provide you with some great insight about the area, including other homes that may be available for sale, that you might not get from the seller or the agent.
Use Your Poker Face!
Last, but not least, if you fall in love with the property, do your best not to show too much excitement or emotion. If an agent (or the seller) immediately picks up on your strong feelings for the property, they now have the upper hand on negotiations. If you want to get the best price to purchase the home, the best way to do this is to stay neutral and keep comments to a minimum.
About Century 21 Peak
For further help and other solutions for all your real estate needs, contact Century 21 Peak. For years, we have brought together America’s top real estate professionals to deliver comprehensive solutions for homeowners, homebuyers, private investors, brokers, lenders, agents, and corporate clients. By drawing on the power of the Peak Corporate Network and its inclusive range of services, many have saved time and money all while maximizing on the value of their assets.