Open houses are a great resource for buyers. Usually held on a weekend, open houses allow the listing agent to ‘open’ the house to the public for one to two hours, allowing prospective buyers check out the property and ask any questions. The listing agent will usually have paperwork on the property to distribute such as the property disclosure which will disclose any material defects. We welcome all prospective buyers to visit our open houses, even if they are currently working with an agent.
Things you should bring to an open house:
Pen/Paper (for taking lots of notes, especially if you are visiting more than one open house!)
Tape measure (simply ‘eyeballing’ a room isn’t good enough, make sure you take precise measurements to make sure your bed will fit into the master bedroom or your couch won’t take up the entire living room!)
Camera (This will help you remember details such as the kitchen or the back yard of a property. Most agents won’t mind if you take a picture of a home and the rooms, make sure to ask first!)
Flashlight (for checking out the basement or a crawlspace!)
Plan out your schedule before you hit the road. Check the local newspaper, online websites, and determine which homes you wish to visit and the times they will be open. Plan out your route so you will be able to fit in all the properties.
Have a list of questions prepared to ask the listing agent. If you are working with an agent, make sure you keep notes to pass along to them so they can follow up with the listing agent.
Drive around the neighborhood! After you leave the open house, take a look around to find the nearest grocery store, park, school, or gas station.
Give feedback! The listing agent wants to hear feedback. The sellers need to hear feedback. Comment on the kitchen if you feel that the layout is not ideal or if you think the bedrooms are too small. Let the agent know if the home has a great yard and that’s the reason why you visited the open house. Chances are, other buyers feel the same way; feedback (positive or not) helps the listing agent determine why the home may not be selling or what feature will end up selling the home!