Attending an open house is an excellent way to assess if a potential home meets your expectations in person. While the way we browse for houses online has greatly improved in recent years, nothing matches seeing the property for yourself.
But how do you know which properties are open for tours, and what should you think about when you’re there? We’ve put together a quick guide to making the most of open houses, including how to discover open homes in your area and what to keep in mind when you’re inside.
What Is An Open House?
An open house is a scheduled event in which a home that is for sale is made available to the public for viewing. This is contrary to a private showing, which is exactly the same thing but is limited to serious potential buyers rather than anybody driving by.
An open house enables prospective buyers to see a home in person. They normally run a few hours on Saturday or Sunday, during which time anyone, regardless of how serious a buyer you might be can come in and take a tour. While the sellers usually are not around, the real estate agent is there to answer any inquiries.
The purpose of an open house is usually to attract potential buyers who may be interested in the property after seeing it. An open house can also be a great way for the seller or their real estate agent to get feedback on the home to get a better idea of what potential buyers might want improved or fixed on the property.
How To Find Open Houses In Your Area
Interested in checking out some of the homes in your area? There are plenty of different ways to track down homes for sale near you that may be opening their doors to the public. Let’s take a look at a few strategies.
1. Search The Internet
The internet is an excellent resource for discovering open houses in your area. Many real estate listing websites will show you not just properties for sale in the area, but also when you may come to see them in person, if possible. Simply searching “open houses in my area” can typically get the results you seek.
Virtual open houses and showings are another online alternative that has risen in popularity since the start of COVID-19. Many listing websites now include virtual tours, which employ a video or 3D model of a home to provide a thorough look at the inside of a property without the need to set foot inside.
2. Take Advantage Of Social Media
Because social media is a great way to quickly and easily reach a broad audience, many sellers and real estate agents utilize it to show off homes to potential buyers or promote forthcoming open houses. You can get information from real estate agents on social media, or you can look for open houses on your own by searching “open house” and the name of your city on sites like Instagram or Facebook.
3. Talk to a Local Real Estate Agent
If you’re working with a real estate agent to find your dream home, they can often help you with searching for open houses. Your real estate agent is likely to be highly knowledgeable about the area in which you want to buy a property and might perhaps guide you toward forthcoming open houses that they are aware of. Real estate agents have access to a multiple listing service (MLS), which is a database of all houses for sale in a specific region. Your real estate agent can most likely discover you open homes using MLS access and their local expertise and experience.
4. Look Around!
Sometimes all you have to do is look around to find an open house. If you want to buy a house in a fairly populated location, drive around and check for yard signs indicating that a house is for sale. Most for-sale signs will provide a phone number you may call if you have any questions regarding the property. Though it takes some driving, this strategy works well for buyers looking for a home in a specific area.
What To Expect
Open houses are events where anybody is welcome to come in, look around, and ask questions. Food and refreshments are usually available. While you don’t have to be ready to buy right now, open houses are created for those who are thinking about becoming homeowners.
In addition to knowing a few strategies for finding open homes in your region, knowing what to expect during an open house may be useful, especially if you’ve never visited one before. These operate a little differently than individual showings, so understanding what to expect ahead of time might be useful. Here are some things to expect if you go to a real estate open house:
- You might not meet the seller – Only the seller’s agent is usually present during the open house, so don’t expect to talk with the seller when you arrive.
- You may be asked to sign in – When you arrive at the open house, you may be asked to fill out a sign-in sheet with your contact information. This allows the seller’s agent to follow up on feedback following the open house.
- You’ll need to follow the house rules – Expect to be asked to remove your shoes or obey other house rules during the open house. If this is your first time visiting an open house, you need to ask your real estate agent about open house etiquette so you can feel more confident and at ease.
- You’ll see your competition – During an open house, there will most likely be numerous other interested potential purchasers. As you wander about the home, try to respect your fellow observers’ space by waiting for them to leave a room before entering.
Tips For Touring Open Houses
Knowing what to expect during an open house is useful, but what else should you know before going? Obviously, you’ll want to follow the schedule and rules established by the seller or real estate agent in charge of the event. When touring numerous properties over the course of a few days, the details might get hazy. Come prepared to make the most of your open house tours.
Take Photos And Notes
Take notes on each home you look at. What did you think you liked and disliked about it? Were there any unique characteristics or odd design defects to keep in mind? These records might be useful for subsequent review.
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, include images of the property with your thoughts. Take pictures of any rooms or aspects that jump out to you (good or bad).
Ask Plenty Of Questions
When looking at houses, don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions. When you visit a property and area in person, you may see things you wouldn’t notice in an online ad, such as a giant blemish on the carpet or some loud construction across the street. An open house is a great time to ask the seller’s agent any questions you have and hopefully obtain answers.
Consider the surroundings
The property may be the main attraction, but purchasing a home entails committing to a whole new neighborhood. So, while you have the real estate agent’s attention, make sure to inquire about the school district, neighbors, traffic, and other elements that will influence how it feels to live there. Also, do some internet research on the region and drive around.
Get contact info
Even if you don’t like the particular home, you might like the realtor who represents it. And they may have other listings that you are unaware of. So, before you leave, get a business card from the agent who is showing you the property and follow up to see if there is any way you might work together.