Savvy open house tips for first-time buyers
Many first time homebuyers see open houses as a casual way to see a variety of listings in a short amount of time. However, in a hot real estate market, the open house may be the first – and last – time a potential buyer has to see a home, as many end with multiple bids being submitted to the sellers.
Instead of using open houses as an opportunity to window shop, first time buyers should take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the house, neighborhood, and surrounding area. The following tips can help first time buyers make the most out of every open house they visit.
- Do your research
If you are serious about purchasing a home, do your research in advance. With virtually all listings now online, it is possible to find out critical information about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, when the home was built, the school district it is in, and more before visiting the open house. Not only does this help ensure the open house is actually worth your time, but it also allows you to create a list of questions you have for the listing agent. Great sample questions include:
– Why are the sellers moving?
– How long has the home been on the market?
– When were the latest updates made?
– What are the costs of utilities?
- Pick your battles
For the vast majority of buyers, there is no such thing as a perfect “dream home”. While there may be a house that meets most of your family’s needs, it is extremely unlikely to find a home with every feature you are looking for in your ideal neighborhood and school district.
Instead, use open houses as a way to discover what you’re willing to compromise on. Size, condition, and location are the top three things buyers look for; pick two of the three to find out what you are or are not willing to work around.
- Walk in pre-approved
In a competitive real estate market, it is important to go into an open house with your mortgage pre-approval already in place. Choosing and working with a lender before you begin seriously house hunting can ensure your financing is in order before you begin showings or visiting open houses. This allows you to make an offer as soon as possible once you find the perfect house.