Open house tips for first-time buyers

June 11, 2019 — Written by Heidi Knight

First time buyer tips for open houses

While open houses seem pretty casual, savvy buyers know that checking out a home isn’t just about aesthetics or a quick view. In a hot market, you might not get more than one look at a property before making an offer so it’s crucial that you If you’re seriously interested in a home, it’s a good idea to make the most out of the opportunity to spend time in the home. Some homebuyers will attend an open house just to window shop. instead of taking full advantage of the opportunity to get important details about the home.

When you visit an open house, you should have several questions prepared for the seller’s agent and you should have already conducted some research, too. You want to leave this process feeling that you have enough information to make a well-informed decision.

Here’s what you need to know about open houses:

Make a good impression

It’s important to put your best face forward. You don’t need to dress for the runway, but your appearance should Bringing your business casual A-game can help you look like a serious buyer. Be courteous to the agent and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Know what to look for

When examining the home’s interior, keep an eye out for issues like for uneven floors, water stains, cracks in the ceilings or walls, and mold. On the exterior, you’ll want to see if there’s any damage to outer walls, or if the roof has any tiles missing. If you can easily spot damage to the home, then it might not be worth your time. It’s important to consider how factoring in the cost of these repairs could affect your budget.

You should take pictures of the inside and outside of the house (don’t forget to ask first).

Check out the competition

Are other prospective homebuyers at the open house? How serious do they seem about the process? Are they asking questions? Do they have a checklist? Be on the lookout when you enter the home. These are potential homebuyers who might also make an offer on the property.

Make sure you are memorable

You want to try and ensure that the agent remembers you. Building a good relationship with the agent can be key if you decide to make an offer on the home. Tell a short story about yourself, or ask the agent about their family or how they got started in the real estate business. Make a genuine effort to get to know them in the short period of time you spend at the home. Agents are people too, and people remember those who make an effort.

Know which questions to ask

By now, you know that an open house isn’t just a casual gathering of interested buyers, sellers and real estate agents. It’s an opportunity to “kick the tires”, so to speak, and get any information you may not have gotten from the listing.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to have a few several questions prepared, as the open house might be the quickest way to get the answers. If the home is a hot commodity, other potential buyers might be looking to put in an offer soon. You want to get as much information as possible during the open house so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not you want to go forward with an offer of your own.

Here are some important questions to ask during an open house:

1. How many offers has the seller received?

2. Why are the sellers selling?

3. How long has the property been on the market? Why?

4. When was the house built? Any updates?

5. How much are monthly utilities?

6. How motivated is the seller to sell the property?

7. What are the neighbors like?

8. How are the local schools?

9. What’s the noise level in the neighborhood?

The answers to these questions probably wouldn’t be included with the listing or can’t easily be deduced simply by visiting the property. However, each question will give you insight that could prove invaluable to your decision-making process.

Final Thoughts

Trying to get a feel for a home amidst the foot traffic of other buyers can seem a tad overwhelming. Worry not; with a little forethought, you can make an open house feel like a more personal experience. On your mark, get set, tour!

This article is not a substitute for advice from a licensed real estate agent regarding your particular situation. This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

Related guides and blog articles

→ How much does it cost to buy a house
→ Navigating a buyer’s market vs. seller’s market
→ Should you get pre-approved for a mortgage before looking?
→ How to write an offer letter for a house

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