So you’ve decided to buy a home. Congratulations! That’s a big decision. One of the more fun and exciting parts of the home buying process is going to open houses. You get to wander through other folk’s houses and imagine how you would decorate.
Physically going to an open house helps you assess the property in ways that photos cannot. A good photographer can make tiny rooms look huge, and dark rooms look bright. So it’s important to actually go visit the house in person, and it’s even more important to know how to make the most of your visit.
Make Your Home Search Your Job
You’re going to want to know what houses are available for viewings and when. And in order to see a wide range of houses, you’re going to have to put in the time to finding them. Make sure you do your homework though. You don’t want to waste your time visiting a house that doesn’t have enough rooms or is out of your budget. The 3 key strategies to finding open houses are:
Use your agent
Your agent will be on the hunt with you. Make sure they are aware of any specifics you are looking for in a property so they can help you find the right houses to visit.
Check out a listing website
This is a great way to find houses that are available for viewing, such as realtor.com, zillow.com, and trulia.com. Most listing websites will also allow you to search for homes based on specific criteria like price, number of bedrooms, and other amenities.
Utilize Social Media
More specifically Instagram, but Facebook and Twitter can be useful too. Try searching for hashtags that include the words “openhouse” and the area you’re looking in, such as #openhousebronx, or #bronxopenhouse. It’s common for real estate agents to post their open houses on social media in order to help attract potential buyers.
Show up Early and Come Prepared
Arriving early can give you a change to speak with the host or agent before the rest of the crowd shows up. Having a conversation with the listing agent can be extremely beneficial in gathering extra details about the property. Be sure to take a trip around the neighborhood as well to get a better idea of the community.
Make sure you bring a tape measure to measure the dimension of rooms and closets, and such. The notebook and camera will come in handy when trying to document useful info about the house.
Take your time
It’s important to make sure you really get a good feel for the home you’re visiting. If it feels like it’s a good fit, you want to be sure that you’re going to be happy there. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to notice issues. Don’t hesitate to look behind counters, peek in closets, or snoop behind pictures on the wall. You never know what you might find!
Make sure you ask lots of questions. Not just about the property, but about the seller’s situation as well. It’s important to know if they’ve received any previous offers, when they are looking to close, and get an idea of utility costs. You may find some information that could help you out if you decide to make an offer. Consider this initial interaction with the host as part of the negotiation process.
Here are some questions to consider asking:
- Why is the home being sold?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Is the price negotiable?
- Has the price been changed at all?
- Are there any issues, or recent repairs to the property?
- What is the neighborhood like?