Open houses can be a great way to get to know a property. You can take your time, come and go as you please, and even ask questions directly of the listing agent.

They’re good fact-finding missions, too. You get to see how many other buyers are interested, you get to meet potential agents and lenders, and you might even get a lead on other properties that are about to hit the market.

Are you planning on attending an open house in the near future? Here’s how to get the most from your excursion:

  • Scope out the competition – How many buyers are also attending? Do they seem to be seriously considering the property or just browsing? More buyers doesn’t just mean more competition for the current house you’re in, but they also mean a more competitive market on the whole. You may want to talk to your agent about ways you can make your offer stand out in case of a bidding war. 
  • Watch for red flags – Since open houses let you walk the home freely, use that time to look at things a showing agent might otherwise skip over. Do the windows open and close easily? How about the doors? Are there cracks in the walls, ceilings or foundations? These could all indicate bigger problems below the surface. You should also take time to open cabinets, drawers and closets to make sure things have been well cared for. Is plumbing rusty? Are there holes or signs of damage?
  • Ask all the questions. Since the listing agent’s going to be on site, be sure to dig deep and ask a lot of questions. Why are the sellers put the home on the market? Have they made any recent upgrades or repairs? How are the neighbors? The schools? The local amenities? You should also ask about how long the home’s been on the market. If the house has been listed more than a month, the seller may be will to negotiate a little more on price.
  • Bring along an extra set of eyes (or two) – Bring your spouse, kids and best friend along for the ride. This not only gives you added help in spotting potential problems, but it also lets you hear different perspectives on the home and its value. You’ll also have people to bounce concerns off of, should they come up.
  • Roam the neighborhood – Even if you don’t end up buying the home you’re touring, that doesn’t mean you won’t eventually find that dream home nearby. Before you hit up the open house event, drive through the neighborhood to get a feel for things. Any concerns? Questions? Issues? Bring them up with the listing agent and get the scoop.

Open houses can a good way to get to know a home – and its neighborhood. Just make sure you bring along a trusted friend or agent, know what you’re looking for, and be on the lookout for potential red flags. Want help along the way? Contact The Claus Team today.