Have you attended Open Houses? If so, you know there’s a small art to it… here are 5 things you should know to get the most from Open Houses while avoiding any awkward moments! Common sense goes a long way, but you’ll see it’s not so common! Read on…
1) Always sign in and greet the Agent, but do not disclose your inner secrets! If you’re already working with an Agent, put their name down on the Registration sheet. The Agent will NOT contact you. Listing Agents represent the Seller, so do not reveal your motivation, your trust fund, or how this is the best house you’ve ever seen – save that excitement for private conversations with your own Agent.
2) Be respectful when looking around. This is especially true regarding closets, bathroom vanity, drawers, etc. Think of how you would feel if strangers were going through YOUR house. Though rare, sometimes the sellers are even in the house, so be careful what you’re saying, as you might be overheard. Outside, keep your voice low, as neighbors could be listening to every word. You don’t want to the neighbors to know of your offer even before the sellers!
In the case of exercise equipment or musical instruments, it’s always a “hands off” policy. I have been horrified to see Open House guests actually turning knobs on the boiler in the basement. This is strictly taboo!
If you are visiting with kids, keep an eagle eye on them. Children need EXTRA attention during Open Houses, where they may encounter things you would never let them touch at home. In the unfortunate event something gets broken, tell the Agent immediately.
3) DO ask questions. If you do not have an Agent, this is a perfect time to chat it up with the Agent, learn what you can about the neighborhood, the house, age of roof, etc. They are not likely to disclose anything about their Client’s motives for moving, etc., but they should share any factual information about the house. LISTEN to what you hear others saying – their comments, criticism, insights might help you.
4) Take Notes, but not pictures. Pick up whatever material is available to you: listing sheet, floor plans, Sellers Statement of Property, pictures, etc. Do not take pictures with your camera. At one of my Open Houses someone took a video of their walk through the house, posted it on YouTube, and the seller found it – and called me in tears. The video was posted with the real, full address. Talk about poor judgement!
5) Give feedback to your own Agent soon after the Open House. If you have a Buyers Agent, you’ll want to give feedback while things are fresh in your mind. Keeping in touch weekly keeps both of you on your toes and connected about your favored criteria. The more your Buyers Agent knows about what you love and hate (strong words but true) helps them help you. I love hearing my Buyers describe their Dream Home – it helps me envision it so I can help find it for them.
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