Get The Most Out Of An Open House

Dated: 10/30/2016

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Get the Most out of an Open House

Let’s face it - house hunting can be a daunting task, whether it’s your first time buying a home or your third move in the last three years. After scanning the ‘For Sale’ signs in your desired neighborhood, you’ve marked the calendar with their open house dates and are ready to take on the fellow buying crowds. But, instead of wasting your entire weekend checking out house after house, be sure you don’t go into an open house blindly.

Think about what you are actually looking for when you visit an open house. Often times, attending an open house can be a bit awkward - it is a strangers home after all. Don’t forget to use your manners and treat the home as you would your own. The key is to be polite, but get the job done thoroughly during your tour. Don’t be afraid of opening doors, measuring closets, and checking out those secret hideaways that might make for a great storage space. Come prepared and bring a notepad, camera for documenting (you will mix up houses) and put that tape measure to use! Most agents will be happy to have you check out the property thoroughly, as it shows you are a serious buyer and not perusing open houses just to see what “Joe” from down the street has upgraded since you last saw it.

Keep in mind that many homes are looking their best during an open house. The interior and exterior will be well-kept by the current owner in order to entice a buyer. Be sure to ignore staged furniture, fine french bathroom soap, perfectly organized bookshelves and  a garden that doesn’t have one weed. Inspect the home for what it is, as being blind-sighted by the “lipstick” features could cause major problems down the road. Look for broken appliances, cracks in the ceiling, damage to the exterior, leaky faucets, rotting wood, oh - and that breeze you felt when you walked by the bedroom window? Ya, that poorly sealed window is going to cause quite the draft during the winter months. 

Another advantage to attending an open house is the ability to see a piece of real estate in its natural habitat. The photos on the listing are going to show it at its best again and may not capture the fence shared with the neighbors that’s about to topple over. Don’t be afraid to take a walk around the neighborhood. Explore the surrounding streets and drive around to check out the proximity to amenities, schools and restaurants. Does the property back-on to a yard with a barking dog? You may not be able to entertain outdoors. Is the house across the street unkept, littered with junk and loaded with cars? You may be neighbors to a party-loving frat house.

The trick is to have your eyes and ears peeled. If a house looks too good to be true, than it probably is. Always be sure to trust your gut and do not EVER feel pressured to overlook things that may result in major damage or costly repairs down the road. Always feel free to request more data on a listing from your ART real estate agent, so you can make the most informed decision when leaving an open house!

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