7 Best Open House Tips for Buyers

Best Open House Tips for Buyers

Gone are the days when you wander around neighborhoods that you want to live in and look for open homes to buy. With the internet providing a huge range of information on all house sales available, you can view homes online, including full details and photos, and even have a virtual open house.

However, with a big purchase like a house or condo, you still want to have a real visual inspection to see things with your own eyes and with no filters or angles applied. Visiting an open house is a convenient way to view homes and get a real feel for the house and quickly add or cross homes off your list of potential purchases.

Detailed below are 7 open house tips for buyers so that you can get the most out of your searching and open house visit.

Open House Tips for Buyers

1. Search Online And Combine Open House Visits

Research and pick areas that you may want to purchase a house in, and then visit one of the many websites that provide listings of houses in that area. They should be able to let you search and filter house listings by a variety of factors, such as price, size, location, and anything else that is crucial to the house you want. 

RetireBetterNow.com provides this exact searching functionality, and one of the great features about it is that it shows which listings have an open house and when that’s going to be.

Group your open house visits based on this information so that you can attend as many open house opportunities as you want in a condensed timeframe. 

You don’t need to make multiple trips out during the week or drive all over the city or surrounding areas if you group your open house visits; this also lets you compare similar homes in similar areas while everything is fresh in your mind.

2. Learn From Each Open House You Visit

Each open house in Las Vegas (or elsewhere) is an opportunity to see what is standard in specific areas, the types of features, layouts, problems, and how much money those types of features may increase the house price by.

You may find that certain features you want increase the price of the house by a certain amount, so you can determine how important each feature is or if it’s something you can install or do after the fact for less money.

Your time and available money can help determine whether it’s better to pay more for certain things now or if a fixer-upper house has a better value for your current financial and time situation.

3. Keep Notes On Every Open House You Visit

Use your smartphone or a notebook to keep notes on every house you visit; this allows you to take note of anything good or bad you notice that wasn’t apparent in the actual online listing you saw or the information sheet you’re given at the open house.

If the listing doesn’t give measurements of rooms, it’s an opportunity to quickly measure and note down important rooms so that you can compare them to other houses you visit. For example, you may want to see whether a second bedroom or den is big enough for the job you have in mind.

It’s also a great way to refer back to your open house visit when you’re reviewing homes, as it’s challenging to remember every detail, especially after a day of open house visits.

4. Review All Open Homes While Your Memory Is Fresh

Even if you’re taking notes on your open house visits, it’s still a fantastic idea to review each house on the day you saw it, especially if you have a partner viewing and taking their own notes.

Your memory of the house and everything in it will be the freshest on the same day, and you may forget or have missed something strange that a review brings back up; you might be able to cross a house off your list, or it may push the house to the top of your list.

It’s an opportunity to think or talk out loud without other buyers or real estate agents around, and it’s a helpful process when you’ve been viewing a lot of open houses throughout the day or week.

5. Understand How Homes Are Staged, Watch For Red Flags

Every open house will be staged to varying levels; at a minimum, this may just be a clean-up of the house, or it could involve the owner making modifications to the house. In some situations, the modifications or staging simply show the house in the best light possible.

However, you should be checking each open house you visit for red flags that indicate some shady modifications or upgrades have been done to hide certain factors that may come back to bite you if you purchase the house. For example, fresh paint in only certain areas of the house could indicate previous damage from floods; just keep your eye out for anything new or out of the ordinary with the house.

You should also be checking on the age of the house, modifications, upgrades, or renovations that have been done so you can understand any future costs that may be coming. For example, is the roof nearing the end of its life, or are there any parts of the house that will need upgrades or replacing in the near future?

You might get a great deal on the house, but the future costs should also be factored into the price you’re paying, and you need to understand what those costs may be.

6. Have A List Of Questions Of Information You Want Answered

Before you visit each open house as a buyer, you should thoroughly review the online listing for the house and start building a list of questions you want to be answered. This may be specific to the house or area you're looking in, or it may be general questions that you want to be answered about every house you visit.

You can also add to this list of questions as you visit the open house, and when you’ve reviewed each house, you can ask the real estate agent the questions directly so that you get all the information you need and don’t forget to ask something that is crucial to your decision to buy or not buy the house.

7. Don’t Provide Too Much Information On Your Buying Situation

Each open house you visit may want to take down some of your information; this is standard practice for safety and for follow-up, so be prepared to provide your name, email, and phone number.

Outside of that information, you should be somewhat cautious of how much you say about your current financial and house viewing situation. You don’t want to give away any edge you may have in negotiations by providing everything upfront.

If asked, you can simply say that you’re working through the process at the moment and finalizing the details; stay vague as there is no advantage to talking too much about yourself.

Final Thoughts For Buyers Visiting An Open House

Visiting an open house is a fantastic opportunity to get a real sense of whether a house has the size, features, and is in an area that you want to buy. You can see whether rooms are big enough for your needs, if there are any glaring problems with the house, and have a chance to get any lingering questions answered.

Combine your viewings to see multiple open houses on the same day in the same area, take notes of each house, and review all your notes against your requirements while the information is still fresh in your mind.

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