How to Be a Savvy Open House Visitor
Despite how much real estate information is available online, open houses have been will continue to be important. If you’re a buyer, here’s how to be a savvy open house visitor.
1. Learn about the market without making a commitment. In today’s world, using online search tools, mobile apps and the open house, a buyer can start to get a feel for pricing and the market before committing to an agent. Most importantly, open houses are one of the best ways for buyer and agent relationships to start.
2. You don’t have to sign in, but you should talk to the agent. Some newer buyers worry that a real estate agent at an open house will be all over them, asking for their contact information, and will then harass them for weeks. It happens, but it’s also common courtesy to at least recognize and say hello to the agent at the open house. If you’re an active buyer, make yourself known to the agent. Let them know who your agent is and don’t be afraid to express interest. When it comes time to review an offer with a seller, listing agents like to put a face to a name.
3. Check out the other buyers. You can tell a lot about the activity and marketability of a home by watching the other buyers. If you see a lot of people walking in and out quickly, the home probably has some issues. On the other hand, if buyers are hanging around, asking questions of the listing agent and huddling in the corner talking to spouses or partners, it might mean it’s a ‘hot listing.’ This can help you decide if you should make a move now or keep looking.
4. Ask the agent questions.
Ask the listing agent questions. He should know more than anyone about the property and the seller. Your agent can funnel your questions to the listing agent. But if you’re there, ask away. Watch the agent’s facial expression and reaction to your questions. If it’s a competitive market, ask questions such as: “Why is the seller selling?” or “Is there a certain day to review offers or have you had a lot of showings?” In a slow market, ask how long the property has been on the market and what the sellers’ motivations are.
5. Be on the lookout for your future agent. When considering a new doctor, lawyer or CPA, you don’t get the chance to see them in their element until you’ve decided to work with them. Not true for real estate agents. Some of the best buyer/seller/real estate relationships begin at open houses, so keep that in mind.