Buyer Open House Tips
House hunting should be fun! It is a time to be excited about your future.
Stay stress free with these tips for attending Open Houses on the Main Line.
It is okay to just browse, but be careful :)
Feel free to tell the agent you're just browsing. Open houses are publicly marketed online and on roadside signs, so people who aren't seriously looking for a home are expected to stop in. Just be careful, my husband Shannon and I were living in Old City Philadelphia and would take drives out to the Main Line on weekends for fun and would stop in at Open Houses we'd see. We were not really looking for a home, but we wound up buying one at one of the Open Houses we stopped at! So be careful, you may just buy a home unexpectedly! :)
Know who you are dealing with
The agent at the showing may be the Listing Agent who represents the Seller. It could also be another agent holding the Open House. They are looking for Buyers who come to the Open House. It is always good to ask, "Are you the listing agent?". If they are the listing agent, it is a good idea to limit the amount of information regarding purchasing the house. Their responsibility is solely to the Seller, not you, and any information you provide to them will be used as best they can toward the interest of the Seller. This is where having your own Buyer Agent can be very helpful. I can help protect you and save you time. There are no fees ever for you, the buyer, to use my services.
The sign in sheet
The listing agent will likely ask you to write your name on their sign-in sheet, which is their way of showing the sellers that people came to the open house. Signing in is proper etiquette. If you are adamant about not to providing your information (phone or email), simply omit it from the sign in sheet. If you do provide the information, expect an email or call in the next few days as a follow up.
Open House hunting strategy
The best approach is to set aside a day when you will visit a selected list of Open Houses. Saturday and Sundays have the most Open Houses. They are typically held in 2-3 hour windows such as: 11AM-1PM, 1PM-3PM, 2PM-4PM. If planned properly, you can see a lot of houses in a day, but we suggest limiting it to four homes. Five houses should be the maximum as they tend to blend together in your memory if you see too many in a day. That brings up an important point - take notes! I like sending myself an email when the day starts with the planned properties in a list with their addresses and a link to their online listings. After you visit a listing, simply reply to the email you sent yourself and add your notes for the property. That way, you have an ongoing log of properties right in your email for later reference. Alternatively, each Open House should have a printed information sheet on the house. Take one and write any of your notes in the margins. Finally, take a look at homes above and below your price range to get a better idea of the overall market and for your own comparison.
Important questions to ask the Open House agent
Have the sellers received any offers? If so, how many?
Why are the sellers moving?
How are the schools rated in the district?
Are there any maintenance or repair issues?
Are there any HOA fees?
How many days has the house been on the market?
I can help you navigate the home buying process and save you time, and certainly save you money. I get paid on commission by the seller when I bring them a buyer, so my services are completely free to home buyers. It is important for you to have your interests represented during the home buying process.
See you next time.
Compass RE - Jennifer Sofield - Agent
6 E Montgomery Avenue, Suite 105
Ardmore, PA 19003
Jennifer Sofield is a team of Pennsylvania real estate licensee affiliated with Compass RE and the Town & Line Team. Compass RE is a licensed real estate broker and abides by equal housing opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. Compass RE Main Line office phone: (610) 822-3356. Broker of Record: John Bilek.