Visiting Open Houses (Scroll Down for The List)

How to Get the Most Out of Attending Open Houses!

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Visiting Open Houses is the FUN part of buying a home. Not only do you get the chance to visit a number of potential homes to buy, you can also pick up some great style and decorating ideas you may want to use in your new home. Even though visiting Open Houses is an enjoyable activity, there are still some things should keep in mind in order to make it more productive.

Before You Go...

Doing Some Homework Will Help You Get The Most Out of Open Houses

The following are some tips on what to do BEFORE you go:

  • Talk to a lender about getting pre-approved for a loan. This simply means that a lender will review your key finances and give you an idea of how much money you can comfortably afford to spend on a home – not only does this help alleviate the stress of wondering whether you’d be able to buy a home if you fall in love with it, it also gives you a leg up on your competition for a home you may want to make an offer on. Don’t worry, your Realtor can help you find the right lender for your situation. Two of my favorites are:
  • Given that buying a home is such a big step, it’s very important to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. This means clearly determining the reasons you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for. Are you looking to move closer to work? A particular school district? Be closer to (or further from) family? Need more or less space? Everyone has a different reason for buying a home and your reason will help you define where and what to look for.
  • Keep in mind: you can always change the way a home looks and functions BUT you can’t move it to a new neighborhood. With this in mind, plan on visiting Open Houses in neighborhoods you like based on what is important to you. Whether it is proximity to work, or shopping, or freeways – determine ahead of time WHERE you want to live. This can greatly reduce the chance of buyer’s remorse – buying a home you love only to find out you don’t like where it is located.
  • It also helps to define what features you are looking for in a home. More importantly, you need to define what you want in a home and what you need in one. You can download my Dream Home Worksheet to help with this. One way to do this is to put an “N” next to those features you need and a “W” next to the ones you want.

Visiting Open Houses

Here Are Some Tips for Attending Open Houses

  • Before even going into the Open House, drive around the immediate area to get a “feel” for it. Is the traffic heavy or light? Is the neighborhood well maintained? Is it close to freeways or transportation that you rely on? Every buyer has a different idea of what the ideal neighborhood is for them so look for issues that concern YOU!
  • One of the first questions the host of the Open House will ask you is whether or not you have an agent. Always tell them that you DO. Otherwise you’re likely to be hounded by them touting how wonderful they are to work with – you don’t have time for the distraction.
  • While checking out all the features that differentiate this home from the others, compare it to your Dream Home Worksheet to be sure it meets all of your needs (and hopefully some your wants.)
  • Also while you’re there, look at some of the details of the home. Does the bath show signs of mold or mildew? Do the cabinets close properly? One or two small problems is not a reason for concern BUT if you notice several issues, that may be sign of deferred maintenance.
  • If you are visiting several Open Houses, it can be somewhat confusing at the end of the day as to which home had what features. To help keep them straight, take good notes or take along a few copies of my Homefinding Worksheet – this will allow you to make note of your honest impressions instead of relying on the sales flyer for the property.
  • After you have walked through the home, don’t be afraid to ask any questions about the home that matter to you: How are the schools? What entertainment is nearby? What are the HOA fees and what amenities do they include?
  • At the end of the day, review the homes you saw and pick your favorites. If you’d like to go back and spend a little more time seeing any of them in a private showing, give me a call at (714) 225-3993 and I’ll be very happy to arrange that for you!

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