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What to Do at an Open House – Home Buyer Etiquette & What to Look For

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you might be wondering, “Should I buy a house now or wait?” It’s an important question. And, one of the best ways to determine if you’re ready to buy is to start visiting open houses to get a feel for what’s on the market, what you like, what you don’t, and how much house you can afford.

Open houses are also a great way for buyers to quickly learn a lot about a home. The listing agent is present and can answer questions directly, which can save quite a bit of time.

But what should you really look for, and ask, during an open house? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Touring Open Houses

Touring open houses can be an incredible learning experience, even if you’re not quite ready to buy yet.

First, going through a lot of open houses can help you discover what you really want in your dream home, and what you don’t. You’ll start to get a firmer picture of your priorities, and you’ll learn not to be swayed by the smell of freshly baked cookies or that beautiful paint color in the living room.

Visiting dozens of homes also teaches you, through sheer exposure, how to overlook the superficial flaws (like terrible staging or awful paint) and spot a great home when you see one. You’ll also learn how to quickly spot a dud.

You’ll gain a thorough understanding of home pricing in your community. Over time (and dozens of tours), you’ll know when an asking price is fair for a home, and when the owner is asking too much.

You’ll also learn how to communicate effectively with real estate agents. After you talk to a few agents, you’ll have a better sense of the lingo they use and the information they’re willing to share. You’ll also refine your own list of questions and know exactly what you need to ask to get the information you want.

If you know you’re going to eventually sell your home, touring open houses can give you some remodeling ideas that will increase your home’s value.

What to Look for During an Open House

When you walk into an open house, it’s easy to get distracted by the beautiful living room or the perfectly staged bedrooms. However, you need to pay attention to the details of the home to determine if it’s a good buy, or a dud with serious problems.

So, what do you need to look for?

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