Search Open Houses and Tips on Touring Open Houses
The Sunday open house tour is a great way to learn about an area or a neighborhood, especially when you are a Buyer early in your home buying process. If you want to get to know a neighborhood, head out on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy the array of homes open at your convenience. Touring open houses on a Sunday afternoon can even be a family event and a lot of fun. Touring open houses will be even more fun if you are prepared. Here are some tips that will make your Sunday afternoon open house tour that much more enjoyable:
Bring plenty of water. Always stay hydrated when touring open houses. This will keep you energized and excited about the next open house, and your next, and your next, and your next. Dehydration can set in really fast, especially on those hot days.
Bring snacks. Touring open houses can take much longer than you anticipated because you generally are having a good time and time will slip away with each open house you visit. Snacks like nuts and fruit are a good combination. Nuts give you protein, and fruit will keep your blood sugar level cookin’ at a good clip. If someone starts getting a little cranky during your tour, time to break out the snacks!
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Wearing running or walking shoes with good support and cushion during your Sunday open house tour will probably be your best decision in preparation. Some people make the mistake of getting all “dressed up” for open houses. There is absolutely no need to do this. Casual dress, with comfortable shoes, this is your ticket to a very enjoyable open house touring experience. You will many times be walking up and down steps, plus walking outdoors in backyards. Getting in and out of your car, walking on cement drive ways and walk ways all day. If you can wear a shoe that also slips on and off rather easily, this will help as well when there is an open house that requires shoe removal. In addition to shoes, always wear comfortable clothes as well. The combination of comfy shoes and comfortable clothes will make your home touring a breeze. Leave the high heels at home!
On hot days, wear a hat. If it’s going to be a really hot day, consider wearing a hat during your Sunday open house tour, especially if you are prone to sunburn. Sometimes you are outside a lot looking at the exterior of homes and backyards. Wear sunscreen, and have some extra sun screen in the car for back up as well.
If its raining, bring an umbrella. Even though it might be pouring rain during your Sunday open house tour, you still want the freedom to be able to walk the backyard and view the exterior of the home. Never miss an opportunity to walk a backyard during an open house. Don't cancel your tour because of rain either. Seeing homes during a rain storm is actually the best time to see a home. You get to witness any drainage problems, roof gutter leakage, deck run off. You can learn all kinds of things about a home during a rain storm that you would never have known otherwise.
Never linger at a home you don’t like. If you know right away a home will not do, just turn around and walk out. This will keep your Sunday open house tour efficient and effective for you. Do not worry about the host’s feelings being hurt if you walk in and walk out. You are there for your needs, not their needs. Say a friendly hello, a quick thank you for having it open, and walk right back out. You want plenty of time to stay for a long time at the homes you love. Hence, don’t waste your time at an open house that you instantly know will not do.
Give yourself a time limit for each home. If you have a lot of homes you are trying to see in one day on your Sunday open house tour, set a time limit for each home. For example, no more than 15 minutes for each home. Put your watch in the stop-watch mode, set the timer each time you walk into an open house. This will keep your open house tour on schedule and on track.
Map your tour. If you have the luxury of being able to search for open houses on line before you head to an area, and you know which houses you want to see, map them out first. Using your GPS is an excellent and easy way to do this as well. Pre-input all the homes. Make your open house tour flow from one open house to the next from start to finish.
Ask permission to take photos or video. Always remember when you are touring a home, it is someone’s private residence. Even a bank owned property is owned by an entity. Therefore, you should always ask permission from the open house host whether it is okay to take photos or video of the property.
Be polite to the agent holding the open house. If you are seasoned at open house touring, you are fully aware that Realtors that hold open houses are not only there to sell the house, they are also there to try and solicit your business. Before they interrupt your focus on the house, just simply thank them for holding the open house, and kindly say the following - "I have an agent." Spoken with enough conviction, these four words will clear a room full of agents faster than you can finish your Ritz cracker.
Don’t sit down! Before you get the urge to touch or sit on some furniture or bed, make sure its real. Sometimes homes are “staged” with fake furniture and materials. One touch, things can go flying. For example, many beds that look like beds are only air mattresses on a raised card board frame. Be careful. Your best bet is to just not sit down at all at an open house. Better safe than sorry.
Avoid too much information. Refrain from divulging details about your own home search situation. While there's nothing wrong with a little chit-chat, keep the conversation focused on the property. Always continue to use your best poker face - especially if you've walked into your ultimate dream home, don't show any major emotion. Remember, the agent works for the seller so you don't want to share any information that could compromise your bargaining position.
In summary, touring Sunday open houses is a great way to start getting your feet wet in the purchase process, but more importantly a great way to get to know a neighborhood. However, if you are serious about finding the perfect home, relying solely on open house opportunities is like only eating the salt off of a tasty pretzel. Open houses only scratch the surface of what's a available, and many times listings never hold an open house. Interview and select an agent to represent you early in the process. You will then find yourself with a coordinated plan of attack, seeing ALL the homes out there fitting your criteria, and operating from a position of strength.