Whether you’re looking to break out of your apartment complex, starting a new life with your partner, or investing in property, the open house is the best way to understand the housing market in your area. Online and print listings are a fair enough place to start, but staged pictures rarely tell the whole story. That’s why it’s important to get in and see the place yourself. Here are some open house tips that will help you succeed, no matter what your goal is.
Do Your Homework
Make a game plan by using all the resources at your disposal to see what houses are open. This can be a fun weekly activity during your house hunt, and as time goes by, it will help you understand the housing landscape in your area. You’ll get a sense for fair market value, and see which realtors are major players, making this one of the more surprisingly invaluable open house tips. Refer to online listings and social media, smartphone apps, newspapers and magazines, and drive around to plot out your weekend open house tour.
Be the First In
Getting to the open house at the very beginning may mean you get the realtor or host’s undivided attention. This gives you a chance to get down to brass tacks with them and ask the critical questions (more on that later) while being able to explore without bumping into people.
Greet the Neighbors
This may seem like one of the more strange open house tips, but it can pay off. If you like the property and are serious about making an offer, take a walk around the couple of blocks that are closest to the house. Keep an eye open for potential red flags like abandoned or neglected properties, but also take time to greet and speak with neighbors who are out. Tell them you’re interested in making an offer. They may have some inside info about the seller or neighborhood. If they’re not friendly, that may be a warning sign.
Finally, here are the best questions to ask a realtor/open house host:
- When is the seller moving, and when do they want to close?
- Have any offers been made?
- Is the price flexible, and has it changed since the home was listed?
- How long has the home been on the market?
- What are the average utility costs, and is it in need of any major renovations?
Use these tips to confidently walk into an open house, regardless of your goals.