Not just for dreaming about your stuff in a new place, open houses can really help you learn about the bones of a home and what’s a good match for you.
An open house is a scheduled time when a home is available to view by potential buyers. Most happen in the afternoon during the weekend and usually last a few hours.
How They Work
Every real estate agent or owner runs open houses differently, but in general, you’ll have free rein to look around at your leisure. The sellers aren’t usually home, but you should meet a real estate or listing agent.
Before: Smart Prep
Before going to an open house, you should do a little homework.
Find out how long the property has been listed. New listings may have busier open houses, so it might take you more time to look around. If it’s been on the market for a while, you might want more information about why it hasn’t sold.
Research the neighborhood including the crime rate, schools, nearby parks and playgrounds, and if there’s a homeowner’s association (HOA).
Make a list of questions to ask while you’re at the open house (these are a good start).
- Have there been any recent additions or renovations? Did they add rooms, make major fixes, or do any major upgrades?
- How old is the roof?
- How old is the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) system and the water heater?
- If there’s siding, how old is it?
- What comes with the house (e.g., appliances, front and backyard features, etc.)?
During the Open House: What to Do, Where to Look, Features and Flow
When you arrive, confirm with the agent/host it’s okay to take pictures and/or videos. As you walk around, take notes and possibly add to your list of questions based on what you see.
- Cabinets: Look in, around, and under cabinets. Check for standing water or signs of water damage.
- Curtains and blinds: See how much sunlight comes in and at what angle for the time of day. Check out the views (e.g., does a window look right into the neighbor’s house?)
- Kitchen appliances: Ask about their age and see if they’re appliances you’ll be comfortable using.
- Living areas: Picture you and your family in the home as you walk through it. Where would you spend time? Is there enough space when you’re all together?
- Storage: Does the home have enough storage and/or room for your current and future belongings?
Open houses should be fun, so once you get through the basics, take the time to see what you like about the features and flow of the home. Does the layout make sense for you and your family’s needs? Are there design features you like? Sometimes, you won’t even know what you like until you see it. (This is when you get to dream about your stuff being in a new place.)
Attending open houses is a great first step toward buying a new place. Curious to learn more? Reach out to one of our loan officers. We’re excited to meet you!