When you’re looking for a new home, think of an Open House as the “swipe right” of the shopping experience. You’re open to learning more and, sure, an in-person meet up is the next step. Visiting Open Houses are productive, fun and insightful. But they can be time-consuming so here are some tips aimed at helping you maximize your visits.
What to expect
Open Houses are casual events typically hosted by the sellers’ real estate agent or, if the home is independently listed, the current owner. As a potential buyer, you can drop in anytime during the event.
They’re typically low-pressure. Agents won’t hard-sell you on the home’s benefits though they’ll likely point out any special features – and they’ll definitely field questions.
The perks of visiting
Open Houses are an easy way for buyers to assess the market. Plus they’re fun. Among the many benefits:
See homes IRL. Most potential home buyers spend a stretch of time online, checking out real estate websites. As fun as that is, it’s not the same as seeing a home in real life. Visiting Open Houses will help you gauge the value of a specific home and give you a clearer picture of what homes in your preferred area or price range look like. (A bonus: See how your wish-list home is being decorated.)
Check in on your priorities. Your idea of what you must have – and simply want to have – may change after you visit a few Open Houses. Depending on what you see, that third bathroom may drop down a few notches and a finished basement may move to the top.
Feel out the neighborhood. (And your neighbors.) There’s no substitute for walking around a potential area to see how you’d like it. Plus, you can determine what’s more important – where you live or the house you live in.
Open House etiquette
Open Houses are staged events but it’s important to remember you’re still in someone’s home. It’s not a home inspection. The idea is to get a general feel for the home and the area and assess whether you want a second look.
No need to knock. Feel free to open the door and start your visit. You should seek out the host, typically the Realtor, and let them know you’re there.
Follow the rules. Some Open Houses may require shoes off. (They typically have a basket of booties by the door.) Others may ask you to sign in. Whatever the rules are, be a good guest and abide.
Look don’t touch. As tempting as it is to open cabinet doors and sniff around closets, you’ll want to refrain. Remember that people still live there. If you’re serious about the home, you can schedule a private follow-up with your Realtor.
Looking for more tips? We’re here to help. Check out our homebuyers’ guide or reach out and talk to one of our Loan Officers about options. Good luck with your search!