The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, June 25, 2018

7 Reasons You Should Attend Open Houses

Open houses present a world of opportunity, even if you aren’t prepared to buy just yet. There are several benefits and insights you can gain from attending one and paying a bit of attention. If you’re going with a purpose – and if you’re honest with the agent hosting the open house – then you aren’t an annoying looky-loo. You’re making strategic efforts to prepare yourself for what can be a stressful process.

Meet Potential Agents

While you should always remember that the hosting real estate agent is working for the seller, it gives you the chance to see agents operating in the market you’re interested in first hand. Attending multiple open houses from different agencies can give you a good idea of what kind of agent you want representing you during the buying process. Attending multiple open houses by the same agents lets you get to know them face-to-face without having to go through the process of formal appointments, especially if you’re not ready to buy. Agents should also be knowledgeable about the market overall, so it’s also a good opportunity to get expert information.

Size Up the Market

Markets change regularly, so this is especially important if you’re in the process for preparing to buy sooner rather than later. When you visit an open house, the number of people who sign in – that is, the number of people who the agent can follow up with – will likely indicate current demand. A high visitor count means you’ll need to be ready with an offer quickly, or someone else will scoop the property out from under you. What’s more, multiple open houses in the same area will help gauge the price range for that market.

Scope Out the Neighborhood

There are two elements to this tip. First, you can peruse the neighborhood as you drive to the open house. Second, looky-loos abound at open houses, and often, they’re curious neighbors. You can learn a lot about a community’s personality by chatting with these neighbors. For example, it will become easy to see whether the area is filled with retirees, young professionals, or established families. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – neighbors are more likely to be honest and won’t have a sales pitch attached. You should also remember to consider whether it seems like the sort of neighborhood that comes together for events like block parties, or if it’s mostly quiet; it’s the little things that build your true experience in a community.

Set Realistic Expectations

This is especially important for first-time buyers, but it never hurts for those who already own property to be reminded that the perfect property probably doesn’t exist. Real estate agents are all too familiar with first-time buyers that have a dream home in mind but which, in reality, is impossible to find, especially when it comes to price. Open houses will show you what kind of homes are on the market in the area along with the price tag. You can use this to plan how much you’d like to save, or even turn your attention toward a neighborhood that’s more aligned with your finances. You can find a beautiful home that appeals to you, and you can afford, but it might not what you expected before you started browsing.

Realize What You  Want

Hand in hand with realistic expectations, open houses let you experience potential homes in a fully sensory way. You may think you prefer a certain layout, but once you visit a home with that layout, you realize that it doesn’t suit your needs. Alternately, you may not have considered a certain type of house (e.g., modern versus older homes) before perusing it on a casual open house but realize you love it; had you waited until you were seriously hunting, you may have avoided that style of home in favor of focusing on what you thought you wanted. You may have certain amenities or maintenance ideas in mind, but seeing what different homes offer, you come away with new ideas about what you want. Visiting open houses gives you a framework for what you’ll request from your agent later.

Prepare for Serious Hunting

You may have noticed a trend through each of the benefits we’ve outlined above. Attending an open house is key for prospective buyers to find the homes they want to make an offer on. Yet it’s also important for those preparing for the buying process because it offers real-world experience of the market, the neighborhood, and different types of properties. It’s just as important as preparing your finances!

Get Creative Insight

Perhaps you’re ready to buy a home, and you’re not sure how you’d like to design your décor. Perhaps you’re selling your home, and you want inspiration for how to stage it. Either way, open houses have often been professionally staged or designed, showing off the latest aesthetic to appeal to customers. Often, these designs are wallet-friendly, since they’re implemented solely for selling the house. That makes it easier for you to use it as inspiration later without hurting your own budget.

Whether you’re ready to buy soon or you’re only planning and preparing to buy later, an open house presents an opportunity for you to best position yourself for such an important purchase. You’ll have the chance to understand the market, selling prices, and what you really value in a future home. Take full advantage of these benefits by attending open houses in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

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