What to know before heading to an open house tour

 

Visiting open houses is an important step in the buying process. It marks a significant point in your progress and it’s one of the most fun aspects about buying a new home. These key reminders will guide you about what you need to do when attending an open house to get the most out of the experience.

 

 

 

 

  • Schedule the whole day

Be systematic when going to open houses. Plan your route and travel times so that you can visit as many open houses as possible in one day. Find out how long it will take you to get from one house to the next. Consider rush hours and traffic flow and most importantly, remember to allocate enough time to get to know each property.

 

  • Wear appropriate clothing

Put on something you’ll be comfortable in the whole day. Choose cottons or natural fibers if the weather is warm. Bring a sweater or a jacket if it gets cooler as the day progresses.

 

  • Remember your manners

Just because the owner is opening up the home to strangers doesn’t mean you can invade their privacy. Remember that the owner could still be living in the property so treat your visit as if you’re dropping in on a friend’s house for the first time.

Log your visit on the sign-in sheet. Ask the selling agent if and where it’s okay to take photos. Inspect the storage spaces but don’t go rummaging through the owner’s belongings. Check with the seller’s agent before entering any closed doors. And keep your criticisms about the property to yourself.

 

  • Know what you’re after

Remember, you’re there to know more about the property. Take notes about what you see and think. Prepare a list of things that you’re can’t live without in a home and see how the house your visiting stacks up. Imagine what it would be like to live in the house you’re touring.

Take the listing sheet and examine it, looking to see if all the information it contains is correct. Look for and assess the condition of amenities promised. It’s perfectly normal to bring tools like a measuring wheel to check square footage and other dimensions of the home.

 

  • Avoid saying too much about yourself

It’s okay to ask questions and engage in small talk with the owners and seller’s agent but don’t try to build rapport by disclosing too much information about yourself. Keep your conversations focused on the home.

You may unwittingly reveal things about yourself that will make it hard to negotiate a better price later on. Don’t tell them you love the property. And if the selling agent asks you how long you’ve been looking at the home, just say that you’re always on the lookout for a good deal.

 

  • Ask questions about the property

Be polite and ask as many questions about the home as possible. This could potentially be your new home and you don’t want unpleasant surprises. Ask the owners what they like about the property and whether or not there are problems you should know about.

Try to get some insight from the seller’s agent about the neighborhood such as the quality of nearby amenities like schools or hospitals. Find out if  there are any special rules, assessments, or fees in case there is a homeowner’s association.