How to make the most of an open house visit (for buyers)


If you’re shopping for a new home, visiting open houses can be incredibly useful during the house hunting process. In addition to allowing you to see a number of properties without the formality of scheduling a private showing, it also allows buyers to chat with the listing agent – and see how other potential buyers are reacting to the house. The following four tips will help buyers get the most out of an open house visit.


  1. Be open to finding your future agent. Most buyers visit open houses in the early stages of their house hunt. If you have yet to hire an agent, use open houses as an opportunity to meet a number of different agents without scheduling appointments at their offices. Likewise, seeing the types of properties an agent represents can give you a good idea if you would be a good professional fit; if you are looking to purchase a small condo, your ideal agent will likely deal mostly in these properties. 
  2. Learn more about the market. Because open houses allow you to visit a wide range of properties, use the opportunity to learn more about the market, neighborhoods, and pricing. By visiting several open houses in an area, buyers can begin to learn more about what the local “standards” of size, prices, or interiors are. This can give you better knowledge of whether a home is priced too low, too high, or just right for the area. 
  3. Watch the other buyers. Your mother was right – it’s not polite to stare. However, observing other buyers at an open house can give you a good idea of how “hot” the property is. If people are walking in and quickly leaving again, there might be something wrong with the house; likewise, if buyers are staying for long periods of time, asking lots of questions of the agent, or talking quietly in a corner, they are probably seriously considering making an offer. 
  4. Ask the agent questions. An open house is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about a home; a listing agent is often your best source of information about the property and the sellers. Good questions to ask include “Why are the sellers moving?”, “How long has the property been on the market?”, “What are the neighbors like?”, and “What is the average cost of utilities?”.

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