So you’ve decided to buy your first home and you want to start looking at properties during open houses. This is a great first step! If you haven’t been to an open house before, it’s just a window of time when anyone who is interested in a property can go by to check it out. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start visiting open houses.
The Listing Agent Hosts…and Watches
You probably won’t meet the sellers during an open house. The sellers’ agent typically hosts an open house and the owners are often advised to go elsewhere. But the listing agent will be prepared to answer any and all questions. You can also get a sense of whether the listing agent seems organized, agreeable, and easy to work with as they will be your primary point of contact (or at least your agent’s) during this process.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the listing agent is probably watching you. Not in a stalker way but just to gauge your interest and demeanor. Put a smile on your face. Keep any negative comments to yourself because they might turn off the seller’s agent. And your expression? Pure poker face. In case you want to submit an offer, you’ll want the sellers’ agent to have a good first impression of you.
You Can Look Around
That’s why you’re there! Be respectful of course, no rifling through people’s belongings, but you can take your time walking through, take notes, take pictures (with permission) and get a feel for the place. You are allowed to look inside things like closets and cabinets to get a sense of space and storage. You can even take measurements if you have a very large piece of furniture that’s important to you, but most open houses will have a floor plan and square footage on hand.
You’ll Have to Provide Some Information
You’re going to come away with a ton of information and probably print outs about this house. But the sellers’ agent is also going to ask for some information from you. Usually you’re asked to register when you come by, provide your name, e-mail address, and whether you’re working with a real estate agent. This is actually a legal concern; if you’ve signed an exclusive agreement with an agent another agent is prohibited from working with you. Plus, there is a record of who has been through the house in the unfortunate event something goes missing from the home during an open house.
Going Solo or With an Agent? Both Work
Open houses don’t require you to have an agent so you can stroll through them on your own. Early in your search this might be a helpful way to discover what you like and don’t like and what you want in your own home. But when you’re seriously looking, attending open houses with an agent can be a big bonus. Having done this many times before, they will likely have helpful insights and can point out features that you might not have noticed. They can also do a more thorough vetting of the houses before you visit to make sure they’re worth your time, energy and hard earned money!
If you want to start looking at homes with an agent, we’d love to help you do that! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-942-1741 to get started.