This is a guest post by Jeff Dawley, Associate Broker/Owner at Atlas Real Estate.

Jim is in the market for a new house.

At first, he started his home search online – checking real estate websites and poring through listings. But after doing this type of research for a couple days, Jim noticed that most homes on the web didn’t include enough (or any) photos.

Additionally, many internet listings had few or incomplete details around key factors that mattered to his search. To combat this lack of information, a friend suggested Jim change up his home search strategy to include visiting open houses in his desired area. The advice was one thing, but Jim didn’t know how or where to start.

To help people like Jim better understand the ins and outs of attending an open house, here are a few important tips.

Why Attend an Open House?

There are several benefits to attending an open house. On a macro level, if you’re looking at properties in a new area, it is important that you immerse yourself in the market to get a firsthand sense of how homes there are being priced and valued. Look around the community you might be living in, and judge if it’s the right environment you’re looking for.

Another benefit of visiting an open house is the ability to get a clearer picture of the property you’re interested in. Peek inside all the rooms, check the basement, inspect the appliances – make sure everything is up to your level of satisfaction, and note anything that might need to be changed for you to buy.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the Realtor in charge of the open house. They are there as a resource and happy to answer anything about the property and surrounding area.

Where to Find an Open House

If you’re trying to find open houses to attend, talk to your Realtor. They’ll have a comprehensive list of properties in the area, and can suggest several that meet your specifications and availability.

If you haven’t found a Realtor yet, you are not obligated to go through one to attend an open house. Here are a few resources that might be helpful:

  • Realtor.com
  • Newspapers, both local and regional (online and in print)
  • Signs posted around the city
  • Social media, most commonly Facebook groups

Open House Etiquette

If you have never attended an open house before, there are a few universal guidelines for buyers that are nice to know for a better experience:

  • All open houses have a sign-in sheet. It’s important to comply with it so the Realtor has your information, and the seller knows who’s been in their house.
  • The Realtor may ask you to remove your shoes when you walk into the house. This is a request from the seller, so comply to avoid any hassles.
  • If you want to take photos or video, get permission from the Realtor first. The sellers may have requested potential buyers don’t, so it’s always safe to ask.
  • Since the agent is responsible for what happens during an open house, try to stick together if you have a group, so they can keep track of everybody.
  • While it’s ok to peek in closets and cabinets, don’t rummage through the seller’s things.

What tips do you have for attending an open house? Share them in the comments below!

As Associate Broker/Owner of Atlas Real Estate, Jeff has over 33 years of experience. He has closed over 1,600 transactions and sold over $245 million in career sales. Jeff has extensive experience in residential sales, land development, land planning, and commercial and investment properties. Jeff holds the prestigious Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation, the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation, (MRP) Military Relocation Professional, and is a State Licensed Appraiser. A lifelong area resident, Jeff enjoys weight training, coaching, hunting, fishing, golfing and all sports. As your real estate expert, Jeff’s number one priority is winning results for you. Whether you’re buying or selling real estate, you can count on personal, professional and prompt service for all your real estate needs. To contact Jeff, visit his website, send him an email, or call him at 810-869-3800.

tross

Tim Ross is CEO of Ross Mortgage Corporation and a lifelong mortgage lender. He has served as president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Michigan and two terms as a governor on the Residential Board of Governors with the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Today, Tim is an active participant, charter member and past director of America's Mortgage Cooperative and recently served as the Chairman of the Mortgage Industry Advisory Board for the State of Michigan. Outside of work, Tim enjoys running, golfing and participating in triathlons.

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