If you are looking to buy a home, the season is upon on us! Spring and summer are the hottest times of the year to buy a home, and with the season nearly upon us open house signs are popping up across the country. If you are planning an open house visit, make sure to go into it with a game plan so you get the best result for your efforts.
Plan Your Open House Visit Schedule
This past weekend, my wife and I visited six open houses in our hometown in Southern California. Getting to many open houses in a day or a weekend takes a plan. While there may be many open houses listed in real estate apps, you should only plan an open house visit to a property you can learn from or are interested in buying.
The Redfin app is particularly useful for finding open houses, but any of the major MLS apps will do the trick. Try to plan your open house visit around clusters of homes open at the same time. This is the most efficient way to view and compare many houses quickly.
Check Out the Properties Ahead of Time Online
Before your actual open house visit, you should take a look at the property online. Using sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Realtor.com, or their mobile apps, you can learn a lot about a property quickly and know if it is worth a visit or should be removed from your list.
With the online tools you can see property photos, schools, past sale data, and other useful information that could eliminate a property or make it a top contender for your next home. In a few moments you can find out if a home is worth checking out, and that could save you plenty of time in the car or walking around a property that didn’t have a chance.
Circle the Block
When you arrive at an open house visit, do not just park and walk in. Instead, start your visit by circling the block. Driving around the block can help you get a better feel about the neighborhood, the neighbors, and help you spot any glaring concerns like ugly boats and RVs parked in driveways, unkempt homes, and other red flags.
With the drive around the block behind you, you are better prepared to enter the property with an idea of how it compares to neighboring properties and if it meets your needs, your family’s needs, and can live up to the lifestyle you want.
Consider Bringing a Wonder Pad
In the summers I worked on staff at a summer camp, I always kept a small notepad and pen in my pocket. We called them a “wonder pad,” but you can call them anything you like. Pocket notebooks start about about $1 each and go up to about $15 for the fancy Moleskine version. You can also go with a digital option like Google Keep or Evernote.
Where you keep notes is not important, but keeping notes can be helpful. Notes on your open house visits can help you keep everything straight about the various homes you view. Writing down highlights, problems, and other useful information can help when it comes time to make a decision or write an offer.
Ask Good Questions But Don’t Drop Your Poker Face
When you visit an open house, it is important to be friendly and honest, but you don’t have to put all of your cards on the table at once. Even if the showing agent prods you on some details of your home search, be careful sharing any financial information like your budget, as that can be used against you in future negotiations.
Ask questions, take everything in, and make a list of follow-up questions to go over with your home buying partner or agent privately after the open house. You can always go back for a second showing, but you can’t take back opening your big mouth and giving up important information on your home buying plans.
Schedule a Second Visit with Your Agent
Your biggest ally in buying a home is a qualified real estate agent. Your agent can help ensure you ask the right questions, negotiate the best price, and buy a home that’s perfect for your family. Before you start searching for a home, you need to find the right agent. Start your search for an agent at AgentHarvest.
AgentHarvest features listings of top agents in markets across the country. We interview and vet each agent to ensure they are trustworthy and experienced so you can rest easy. If you are on the hunt for a home, find your perfect agent at AgentHarvest today!