Can Attending Open Houses Increase Your Home Buying IQ?

IMG_1966I’ve been hosting an open house for the last 2 and a half hours and this is the first moment I’ve had to get on my computer.  I’ve had a steady stream of potential home buyers moving through the house on their tour of the neighborhood looking at what’s on the market. I love doing open houses. It gets me into listings, mine and others, and in front of people who are interested in homes. I love talking about homes. But what about attending open houses as a buyer? Do people find their dream home by following signs through a neighborhood?

Attending an open house certainly can be a way of finding your dream home. But it also serves in other ways as well. First, it allows you to preview homes you may be interested in and get a good feel for market values in a particular neighborhood. Viewing a home and seeing it’s features in person and comparing it to other listings in the same area allows you to becomes something of a market expert. You also get an opportunity to speak with Realtors who may or may not have a solid knowledge of the neighborhood and may be able to offer helpful information.  Realize that the Realtor hosting the open house is doing so for two reasons: First and foremost, to try to obtain a buyer for that sellers home. The Realtor who either has the listing or works for the broker should make that their first priority. Secondly, the Realtor is probably trying to cultivate relationships with potential home sellers and home buyers. In order to do so, they will want to know if you are already working with another agent. If you are, they should back off as interfering with an already established relationship is no way to build one’s clientele. If you’re not working with another agent, they may try to assess your needs and determine if they can assist you. It’s important that you are doing your own assessment to determine if that is the right Realtor for you to work with. Here are some things to consider:

Does the Realtor know the particular area in which you’re hoping to buy?

If you need to sell a home first, has the Realtor sold homes in your general area?

Does the Realtor listen to your needs and seek to understand what you’re trying to accomplish?

Does the Realtor have reputable resources that they can offer in helping you such as lenders, title companies, home inspectors, contractors?

Do you feel that the Realtor is interested in building a relationship with you, or just attempting to rack up another transaction?

Chances are, the Realtor will be able to offer you a good deal of assistance if you’re serious about purchasing a home in the near future. If you are interested in the open home you are attending, they can represent you in making an offer. Often the person holding the open house is not the same agent that is representing the seller so although you may be working within the same brokerage, you will have your own buyer representation. If you aren’t interested in that particular property, the Realtor can assist you by setting up a portal that gives you reliable access to listings that meet your requirements in price, features and location. In return, that Realtor would expect you to use them in making your eventual purchase.

Attending open houses does make you a more informed home buyer. It’s a great way to get feel for a neighborhood, how much house you can afford in the area, and perhaps, meet the Realtor who will guide you through the process and make your home buying dreams a reality!




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