are an exciting adventure, but have their own set of rules. You need to follow
them in order to turn open house shopping into a dream home purchase. I have created a list of 10 important "must know" items to
make the most of an open house experience.
1.Â Â Â Â
Start online - Almost all purchases begin with
online research, and home shopping should be no different. Use Trulia.com to
find out what homes are open in the neighborhoods youâ€™re interested in.Â Once you have done your home shopping
in two dimensions - itâ€™s time to move to three dimensions.
2.Â Â Â Â
Think of each open house as a â€œHouse Buying 101â€ course â€“Â Use every home you walk into as an
opportunity to learn more about the home itself, as well as identify amenities
you will want and things you wonâ€™t want in your new house.Â It also a way to check out the
neighborhood, local amenities and schools.
3.Â Â Â Â
Look But Donâ€™t Touch â€“ Even if you happen to walk
into your perfect house, you are not going to buy it that day. You must shop
around first. Never make an offer on the first house you see, especially if
youâ€™re a novice home buyer.
4.Â Â Â Â
Declare Your Independence â€“ Tell the listing agent
youâ€™re already working with a Realtor and never, ever hire the sellerâ€™s agent
to represent you. You need an unbiased advocate to negotiate on your behalf.
5.Â Â Â Â
Hold Your Cards Close â€“ Don't reveal too much about
yourself, your situation or your need to buy. It's especially important to
never reveal the top price you are willing to pay. You don't want that information
to be used against you later down the line in negotiations.
6.Â Â Â Â
Look for Hidden
Gems â€“ Try to look past all the clutter and personal belongings that
some home sellers neglect to remove before an open house.Â Some of the best home buying deals may
be hiding beneath countertops lined with plaster roosters, walls covered in
family photos, and bedrooms overwhelmed by 80â€ television monstrosities.Â Are there are wonderful hardwood floors
under the wall to wall carpeting?Â Â
And if closets are packed to the gills â€“ look deeper - they may actually
have more space than you think.
7.Â Â Â Â
Interior/ Exterior Overview â€“ If this
one is a real possibility for â€“ give it a closer look-see. Does the interior
look well maintained?Â Check out
the appliances, condition of the windows and doors, look for stains on the
ceilings, cracks in the tiles, even take a quick peek under the sinks.Â If these visible items are not in the
best condition, it may be a red flag and indicate larger issues. Then head outside. Pay
attention to the exterior paint and the state of the roof. Will it need
replacing in the next 2-5 years? What is the condition of gutters, chimney? Are
there any obvious drainage issues?Â
These could all be big ticket items to repair.
8.Â Â Â Â
Take Pictures and Take Away the Takeaways â€“ Take
pictures and notes as you walk around a home. If you see multiple homes in one
day, they'll all start to blend together. Gather and keep the brochures or
printout information sheets on the houses you see, and jot down one or two of
the standout things you like and donâ€™t like about each.
9.Â Â Â Â
Keep Your Interest Under Wraps â€“ Even if
this is the perfect house for you, as Lady Gaga would say: keep your best poker
face. Don't jump up and down with excitement in the driveway or lobby. Get at
least a block away and then call your Realtor. If the seller's Realtor sees you
salivating, you can potentially lose leverage as a buyer.
10.Â Not the
right house for you? â€œBuyâ€ the agent instead â€“ If you havenâ€™t selected a
realtor, this is a fantastic opportunity to check out realtors too. You
actually get to see them in action. Is he/she knowledgeable,
informative, hard-working? Or is he/she sitting in the dining reading gossip
magazine while you stroll through the house? And most importantly do you like
him or her?
Specific questions? Drop me a note!