Open houses are a great way to see what’s out there in the market and what your money can buy for you. The best part: you don’t need an appointment, or even your own agent, to attend one! Open houses can be an eye opener in helping you gauge the market and help you learn the reality behind listing language. Open houses can also be the perfect opportunity to strike up a relationship with a REALTOR® if you don’t already have one. You’ll see exactly how that REALTOR® markets a home and be able to ask questions. If you don’t like that particular house, the agent may know of another one that fits your wants and needs better. There are plenty of articles out there on what the sellers should do during an open house, but potential buyers should also follow good manners when touring homes. Here’s some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when attending an open house.
Do show up as early as possible. An agent will have more time to spend with you and answer any questions you may have.
Don’t wait until last minute to arrive. If you can’t make the open house with plenty of time to look around, call the agent and arrange a personal showing.
Do ask questions. Have offers been made? Is there a Homeowners Association and yearly fee? If the price has dropped, why? These are all important questions, and a potential buyer should ask them.
Don’t monopolize with endless questions during a busy open house. You can always follow-up later.
Do answer questions that an agent may ask you such as features you want, price range, and whether you own a home already. Keep communication open; you never know, they may know just the home right for you.
Don’t provide too much information such as income, when you need to move or how your search is going.
Do dress appropriately in clean, casual clothes. Although you won’t be turned away if you show up in a bikini and flip flops, agents will be less likely to look at you as a responsible buyer.
Don’t open closed doors or cabinets without asking first. Don’t talk badly about a property in front of the agent; if there’s something you don’t like, wait until you leave to discuss. And NEVER make use of the bathrooms.
Do check for dampness, foundation cracks or outdated plumbing and electrical.
Don’t buy a house you think has water problems.
Do drive around the area to get a feel for the neighborhood. If you have children, look for signs of other kids their age to play with.
Don’t overlook landscaping issues, which could include old, dead trees that can be costly to remove.