The Open House: A Buyers Point of View

As a prospective buyer, you are ideally positioned to take advantage of the popular sales
tactic of the ‘open house.’ Signs indicating for-sale homes open to view have become a familiar sight in residential neighborhoods on weekends.

The buyer can benefit greatly from an open house especially if having difficulty deciding what community or neighborhood would be the best fit. Viewing open houses in your selected areas gives you the input necessary for an informed decision.

It’s not unusual to see several homes for sale in one neighborhood with the same floor plans. Using ‘open house’ viewings, you can familiarize yourself on the general conditions, layouts and outward merits of homes in the area.With insider knowledge, you can move forward getting pre-approved and setting up showing appointments.

Most of the time, the listing agent and maybe one – or some – of their colleagues will be present. Sometimes the property is FSBO (for sale by owner), having his/her own “open house” without agent assistance.

If the home is listed with a real estate agent, the home owner may not be there to answer questions. Real estate agents commonly handle showings, open houses and negotiations on the seller’s behalf.

Should the open house be in a prime neighborhood or very busy, you may not get a chance to ask key questions. Don’t forget to make a note of these queries to ask when having an arranged showing at a later date. And don’t wait to schedule a showing if the open house is crowded with potential buyers or in a very popular neighborhood.

When finding open houses to view, start your search by checking out local newspapers. Agents will advertise the addresses for open houses and often give additional information, viewing times, price ranges and any special features.

Signs start appearingin neighborhoods a few days before the open house will be held. These usually announce the event and the hours.

Because open houses are often held on Sundays between 11 am and 4 pm, you can plan to see several in one day. By mapping out a route, you can maximize the time spent at each property and get a stress-free, no-hassle look at some potential homes you may like to buy. Be sure to sign the guest list at each home, agents use these to follow up and homeowners can see how much traffic the event attracted.

Obviously, the whole idea is to attract potential buyers; getting them to make an offer or return with their agent in tow for a second viewing. This opportunity to see potential homes is a great way to get acquainted with the type of properties available in your target neighborhood.

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