Attend Open Houses to Get a Feel for What You Want – and Don’t Want

attend open houses

Attend Open Houses: You’ve outgrown your house and find out you qualify for a mortgage that will let you upsize. Or, your kids have flown the nest, and you’re ready to sell the family home and downsize – or you may be a first-time home buyer and need help deciding what you want.

Congratulations! Whatever the reason for purchasing a home, your time and effort are valuable, and it’s vital that you get a feel for what you want so you don’t spin your wheels and waste time – or end up with something you don’t want.

Open houses provide a taste of what your lifestyle would be if you decide to buy something similar. Unless the seller still lives in the house, the realtor will often stage the homes with furniture and design touches to help you visualize living there.

Attending open houses is an exciting opportunity to gather valuable information before making a final decision. You’ll get to embark on a journey of exploration, discovering new neighborhoods, checking out schools you’re interested in, and immersing yourself in the various floor plans available.

If you’re looking for a fixer-upper, you’ll want to visit foreclosed or short-sale home listings. These homes usually need remodeling, fixing existing problems, or replacing appliances. However, a fixer-upper can be an excellent investment if you have the time, energy, and money.

The purpose of an open house is to let people see what’s available in a particular neighborhood and entertain the idea of purchasing. But even though you may not be looking for a home at this specific time, agents welcome those just looking.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the real estate market. It's the most effective way to let people know that homes for sale exist, and even though you may not be in the market for a home, one of your friends or neighbors may be. So, if you come across a property that might interest someone you know, don't hesitate to share the information.

Always remain loyal to your agent. When you attend an open house and sign in, indicate that you already have an agent you’re working with. This shows respect for the professional relationship you have with your agent and ensures that they will continue to provide you with their full services and support. The agent at the open house will appreciate knowing that information and won’t attempt to solicit you to become their client.

Before you begin your search, you should know the etiquette of attending open houses. For example, you should always sign in and indicate whether you’re already working with a realtor. It's also polite to remove your shoes or use the provided shoe covers to keep the property clean. And remember, it's not appropriate to open closed doors or drawers without permission.

When arriving at the open house, feel free to enter without ringing the doorbell or knocking, but always try to meet the agent. Some will take you through the house and show you unique features, while others will let you pick up a flyer and let you see the home on a self-guided tour. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to ask the agent.

When someone is still living in the home, it's crucial to show respect for their privacy and belongings. It’s not okay to open medicine cabinets and closets and rifle through their things. Always ask the agent if looking inside a closed door is OK, demonstrating your consideration and respect. 

Next Up: Buying a House That Fits Your Lifestyle 

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