August 19, 2021 at 4:48pm | BBHST Admin
Thinking about buying a home? Then you’re going to want to make sure that you choose the one that’s most fit for you. Rather than spending all your time squinting at edited photos online, one of the most eye-opening aspects of property buying is visiting open houses. By doing so, you’re able to gain a complete picture of how the home looks, what you possibly do or don’t like, and if you can truly envision your life in the space. In other words, it can help you conceive your ultimate dream home.

The more homes you visit, the more you’ll be able to learn what makes a great one rather than sweating over the superficialities. It’s the perfect learning experience to frame your priorities and communicate effectively with your real estate agent, who’ll be right alongside you to answer any questions.

What to Look for 
As a potential buyer for an open house, you usually only have a maximum of 30 minutes on a first inspection to determine whether you’d like to spend the next few decades there. 
Because of how momentous this decision can be, it’s important that you don’t let a perfectly staged home distract you from knowing what to pay attention to. You’ll need to be able to recognize the benefits, the cons, and everything in between. So, what exactly is it that you need to look out for when creating an open house plan?

1. Damage
The first and foremost is any kind of obvious damage. While wear and tear is quite normal for houses that have had multiple owners, you’ll still want to take note of any neglect that you see. Feel free to get a little nosy and open up cabinets, lift up rugs, and observe the windows. Be sure to look around for ceiling cracks, stains, mold black spots, and more. These little dings can be an indication of greater structural damage, which is something you don’t want to forget to bring up. It can help to take pictures as you go along so that you can create the fairest offer possible.

2. Storage 
Once you take account of any damage, you should then focus on how much closet and storage space you have. As soon as you move in and settle down for good, chances are that you’ll increase the clutter around you as you go. Whether you’ve already got a family or plan to build one, you’ll find that space is something that only grows in value.

3. Energy Reduction
Financially savvy buyers will also take the time to note if a home can be set up in a way to reduce future utility costs. Airflow is a prime example that you might be able to spot in your next open house visit. If you notice that the windows are positioned to increase the cool air, then you might be able to save on filters and air conditioning.

4. The Neighborhood
Lastly, it’s time to bring out your observational skills. When visiting an open house, you shouldn’t only focus on the property itself. Instead, once you’ve taken note of the factors above, you should talk to your fellow neighbors and examine how well they maintain their own homes. Does the neighborhood seem clean and friendly? Would your children be safe to walk around on their own? Striking up a conversation can be super insightful and fun. 
Now that you know some key factors to look out for when visiting an open house for potential buyers, it’s time to explore how the process works and the dos and don’ts of what you can expect.

What to Expect at an Open House

Make that Lasting Impression
Even though you’re a prospective buyer, it’s still crucial that you maintain a professional air and convey a sense of seriousness to the real estate agent. That probably means you probably shouldn’t dress in some pajamas to the open house. Instead, go for a clean and business casual outfit. As soon as you walk in, take your shoes off, and leave them at the door. This simple action conveys respect and lets the agent know that you know open house etiquette down to the book. Be sure to also take the seller’s privacy into account and not go on full-on snooping. As a rule of thumb, you should treat the home how you’d want potential buyers to treat your own home. 
In keeping these elements in mind, you can also impress your real estate agent by putting in the effort to build a strong relationship. While discussing the home, feel free to share a short quip about yourself and ask about their career as an agent. Just because an open house involves business, that doesn’t mean you need to neglect the personal side of things. Friendly chatter can always help to ease the nerves and make that lasting impression. 

Prepare Some Questions
Keeping a set of questions at the back of your mind is always a great idea when crafting your open house plan. Letting your real estate agent know in the moment is the fastest way that you’ll get answers and even get some new insight that could make or break a decision. Some fantastic questions to ask include how many offers the seller might have received, how long the property has been on the market, and what the monthly utilities are like.

Don’t Bring Kids or Pets
As another general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t bring your kids or your pets over to an open house. No matter how much you love them, they’re simply little disasters waiting to happen that could cost you dearly. If they end up breaking any of the seller’s items or tracking dirt into the house, you can kiss the idea of having your offer accepted goodbye.

Watch Your Space
No matter how much you love an open house, you should be aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t crowding out other potential buyers. Just as a practice of good etiquette and tact, you should only enter a room when the party before you has moved on to another. This reduces the unintended pressure that you might cause for others.

Final Thoughts
Because of how big of an investment buying a home can be, attending open houses is one of the best things you can do as a potential buyer. However, it’s always best to note just a few key things to watch out for and what to expect as you begin this exciting journey. 

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