The Truth About Open Houses
If you ask the Top Realtors about Open Houses, you will most likely get a mixed bag of answers. Is it worth it? Truth is…it depends
If you ask the top listing agents, they say that Open Houses simply don’t work. This may be true, from the seller’s perspective. Meaning if you are trying to sell your home, holding an open house is most likely not going to bring a buyer. What Open Houses are good for is for the Top Real Estate Agents to acquire new clients. Needless to say, the vast majority of people attending an open house are potential home buyers – and a great source of revenue for an aggressive REALTOR. They do, however, hold some very specific advantages for the homebuyer themselves.
Many real estate agents encourage home buyers to attend open houses. While this practice can be a great way to find a dream home, these events aren’t without drawbacks. If you’re serious about house hunting, learn what real estate agents are trying to hide with open houses and get tips on what to do to uncover the need-to-know information before you bid on a dream home.
When it comes to finding homes for sale that offer open houses can be a wonderful opportunity to get an idea of different characteristics of properties and better understand what you are really looking for in a house. By visiting open houses, you can get a sense of what your budget will get you in different neighborhoods. Many of the top real estate websites will include a way to search for open houses in your area.
Why You Should Attend Open Houses
To make these visits as successful as possible, review your expectations ahead of time. Then you can focus on a few key details to see if the home for sale is a good fit for your needs. After you see several shabby homes, for instance, you can re-evaluate whether you want to commit to a fixer-upper.
For these reasons, open houses work well during the early stages of home buying, when you are trying to determine what you really want or need in a home. Once you are clear on your needs, these events may not be that helpful unless properties are in your sweet spot.
How to Make the Most of an Open House
When you show up at an open house, you have a single focus: Get in, see the home, and determine if it’s a fit for you. If you’re attending several open houses in an afternoon, you could overlook important details about the area that could make or break the fit. To determine if a home is right for you, you must look beyond the curb appeal of the property to see it in the context of the neighborhood.
Either before the open house or on another day, spend time in the neighborhood. Walk around the block to get a feel for the area. If you attended an afternoon open house, visit at a different time of day. This helps you get a sense of neighborhood noise, community feel, and other important things to note.
Open houses are designed to show off properties at their best. A real estate agent may light scented candles, hire a cleaner, and even stage the property to hide cosmetic flaws. If you are really interested in a home, consider going back for a second visit after the open house. Then you can take your time exploring the home for sale. When you only evaluate the property on what you see during the open house, you could miss drawbacks.
If the home is crowded, you might feel like you need to put in an offer to beat out other interested viewers. Do not let your emotions get the best of you, as this often leads to buyer’s remorse.
Savvy home shoppers know to research prices before visiting open houses, so they don’t fall in love with a property that cannot afford. Talk to your real estate agent about the asking price or research recent home sales online.
While you are exploring the home, take notes from other home shoppers who are there at the same time as you. If these people rush through the house and do not ask questions, the asking price could be too high. If people act interested, then the price is probably a good value and you should be prepared to act fast.
If you are interested in a property, review the seller’s disclosures around things like mold, electrical problems, roof leaks, or lead paint. Do your research into what it would cost to fix things, and only proceed if you have the finances to handle the problem.
Open Houses for Sellers
Open houses do not hold the same power and opportunity as they do if you are looking to purchase. Very seldom does someone that visits an open house purchase that property. In many instances, they are not pre-approved for a mortgage and are just nosey neighbors.
This is why many of the Top Realtors do not actually sit at their own listings open houses. For newer agents, attending an open house for a more experienced listing agent is a great way to meet potential clients. Open houses have even been removed from the list of offerings by some of the more progressive real estate brokers that leverage technology over traditional real estate marketing.
This advice can help you make the most out of open houses whether you are seriously house hunting or starting to explore your local rental market.