What You Might Not Know to Look For at an Open House

Austin Black II

Open houses are fantastic ways for potential buyers to view multiple homes firsthand without committing to meeting an agent at a particular time or place. This type of no-pressure browsing of homes is beneficial for both buyers and sellers. This guide will provide open house tips for buyers so you know what to expect during your home-buying journey.

Why you should be attending open houses in 2023

With so many home searches done online, you may be wondering why you would even need to attend an open house. While it is true that many open houses are done through virtual tours, if you are genuinely interested in a home, you will want to see it in person. Photographs and videos can only showcase so much of a home; viewing in person is best to get an authentic feel for the property, thus providing you much-needed information about the house’s structure, space, and neighborhood.

At the open house, it's important for you to inform the listing agent that you're already represented by another agent. This isn't just a minor detail—it's a matter of professional courtesy and clarity. By sharing this information, everyone involved can ensure they're on the same page, reducing potential misunderstandings and leading to a smoother transaction. When the listing agent knows you have representation, they can more effectively coordinate with your agent, making property viewings, information exchanges, and any arising questions flow seamlessly. This collaboration often leads to a more streamlined experience for you.

What to look for during an open house

Attending an open house can be a whirlwind experience filled with excitement and nerves. If you are serious about finding the right home for you, these open house tips for buyers can help you save time and make wise choices by identifying what you need to look for when viewing a property.

The condition of the property

When you are attending open houses, take note of the overall condition of the home and property. If you are viewing multiple homes, it can be helpful to take notes on each house that you visit to avoid confusion. Examine the condition of the interior and exterior of the home. Take notes of critical areas such as paint, flooring, landscaping, and ceilings. When viewing the exterior, look for cracks in the foundation, signs of mold, and other issues that could be costly repairs.

The neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose to live in is just as important as the property you purchase. For some owners, it’s all about the community. Look at the condition of other homes in the same area. What is the overall vibe and atmosphere? Is it quiet or busy? Is it a secluded area, or is there a lot of traffic? How close is the neighborhood to everyday essentials, such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, schools, restaurants, and your place of work?

Storage space

When you are touring a home, you will want to take note of its storage areas, such as closets, garage spaces, sheds, attics, basements, storage rooms, and any other empty spaces. If these items are not showcased as part of the tour, ask the owner or agent what additional storage the home may feature. When purchasing a home, you will want to ensure it has enough space to accommodate your needs now and in the future.

Questions to ask the seller’s agent

An open house is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a home you would otherwise not know based on its online listing or other second-hand resources. Before attending, list questions you would like to ask the seller’s agent.

Are there any damages to the home? If so, does the seller plan on repairing?

If you notice any damaged areas that need repairing, discuss this with the listing agent. In some cases, repairs may be pending or could be negotiated as part of the sale. You will also want to ask if there is any unseen damage. Problems such as pests, electrical issues, pipes, gutters, and sprinklers can all be unpleasant surprises that can negatively affect the sale.

How long has the house been on the market?

This is a perfectly acceptable question to ask during an open house. Homes that have sat on the market for longer than average can sometimes indicate a problem, such as a vague listing, costly repairs, or inaccurate pricing.

Is the seller considering other offers?

This is a great question to ask to identify if there is any competition between buyers for a particular property. Don’t be surprised if a real estate agent says they can’t disclose that information. Awareness of competing offers can help prepare you to bid competitively.

Why is the home being sold?

This is one of the most critical questions any home buyer can ask. There are many reasons buyers may want to sell their home. The seller may be relocating, downsizing, or they may have outgrown their home. Other reasons might be potential red flags. It never hurts to ask.

The do’s and don’ts of open houses

The “do” checklist

  1. Let the listing agent know you are working with an agent.
  2. Do ask lots of questions.
  3. Do inspect the condition of the property.
  4. Do take notes.
  5. Do pay attention to details about the surrounding neighborhood, such as privacy, access, traffic, and noise.

The “don’t” checklist

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask about competing offers.
  2. Don’t assume that a virtual tour is good enough.
  3. Don’t forget to ask why the seller is selling.
  4. Don’t get too invested. Open home tours are meant to be short and to the point, and they don’t necessarily mean that you will submit an offer and have it accepted.
With open house tips for buyers like these, you can be better prepared to find your next dream home. Online resources can be great options to narrow your search, but there is no substitute for viewing homes in person.

Are you looking for homes for sale in Detroit?

Austin Black II is an esteemed and highly-rated real estate professional specializing in Detroit and its most sought-after communities, such as Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, Bagley, Green Acres, Lafayette Park, Arden Park, Rosedale Park, Indian Village, and more. Clients seeking homes for sale in Downtown Detroit have prime access to Austin’s vast range of services, from indispensable local market insights to his tried-and-true negotiation tactics. If you wish to buy or sell a home in the Detroit area or want more information about the Midtown Detroit real estate market, reach out to Austin Black today.

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