It’s summertime which means one thing in the real estate world: open houses.
We hear plenty of stories from our friends and neighbors about attending open houses. We get it! Going to open houses whether you’re a casual house hunter or even to see what your neighbors are selling is a southern right of passage. Open houses are meant to be open – to show off the home to the neighborhood, to brokers, and to potential buyers alike!
Problem is, lots of potential buyers don’t really understand the ins and outs of attending an open house they might actually be interested in. We, of course, can think of plenty of reasons you should use a buyer’s agent, but even if you don’t you should know there are things you should and shouldn’t say or do when you’re attending an open house.
- Remember that the agent hosting the open house is the seller’s agent. They have a duty to tell the seller anything they hear that may benefit that client’s bottom line. Keep this in mind! Be friendly, ask questions, but if you’re unsure how much to say about your own situation or about the house itself, wait until your buyer’s agent is with you.
- Contrary to popular belief, it’s fine to ask if the home’s had any offers. It’s also smart to ask the listing agent whether the home’s been in escrow yet and if so, why the deal fell through. This could give you insight into how you can make a successful offer – just be sure to have the conversation in private rather than in front of other lookers!
- Don’t feel like you have to sign in. If you’d like to be reached out to, go ahead! But realize if the agent who’s hosting the open house wants to represent you as a buyer they’ll need to talk to you in detail about dual representation. If they don’t volunteer the info, ask.
- Although voicing concerns about the home might get you a better deal in the long run, hold the heavy criticism until after you leave. You never know who’s listening – the neighbors, maybe even the seller herself! – and you don’t want to offend. Open houses are designed to delight and impress, so be positive and open about the parts you love.
- On the same token, listen to the other buyers snooping around the home! You may get some insight on something you didn’t notice (“Oh, I don’t know about a ventless gas fireplace”) or you might catch a snippet about your possible competition. When in doubt, stay quiet.
And of course, if you attend an open house and want to take action on the home we highly, highly recommend you speak to a buyer’s agent.
Buyer’s agents exist solely to make the home buying process a simpler, smoother one and the seller pays their fees! Open house hunting is fun and exciting – just remember at the end of the day it’s all business.