Summary: Getting ready to attend an open house? Take a moment to review these 5 “must-know” tips from the team at Sammamish Mortgage, and get the information you need to bet the house you’re looking for.
It’s a warm Seattle Sunday afternoon. It’s the perfect day for an open house in Washington State. Realtors have been holding open houses for about as long as they have been selling properties. Think about it. If you put yourself in the seller’s agent’s shoes, there’s no better way to convince your clients that you are representing them well than to have lots of interested buyers stroll through the door ready to buy a home. As a buyer, it’s good to keep in mind that the Agent who is hosting the Open House works for the seller, they don’t work for you. Don’t waste that beautiful afternoon.
Here are 5 must-know tips to help you make the most out of the next open house you attend.
1. Have A Plan
Perhaps you are ready to buy and want to check out the home of your dreams. Maybe you’re casually checking out an open house in your neighborhood to get an idea of just how much properties are selling for these days, and how closely they compare to yours. Maybe you are dreaming of a home purchase in a specific neighborhood, and just want to window shop. It doesn’t matter what your goal is when attending an open house, it’s just important that you have one. With that goal in mind, it’s time to make a plan.
Related: How to Choose the Right Neighborhood
If you are serious about finding your next home, don’t waste time with homes in neighborhoods you can’t afford or simply won’t suit your needs. Start by taking a look at the neighborhoods you are curious about. Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue or anywhere else in Washington State. Check your local paper and online listings for open houses and begin your search for the homes that are in the areas you think might be a good fit.
Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of homes hosting open houses every week. Narrow down your agenda to include no more than the number of open houses you are comfortable with. Depending on the property, a visit to an open house may only last a few minutes, but it’s more likely to last a little longer. Be sure to take this under consideration when you are creating your game plan. Instead of casually stopping by an open house unprepared, plan to visit several homes and make the most of your afternoon.
2. Be Polite
We’ve all heard the saying A little kindness goes a long way. There are a lot of reasons that simple kindness makes sense. But when it comes to attending open houses, it works in your favor. People are much more inclined to engage with those they feel comfortable with. So don’t be surprised if you are asked to remove your shoes, and don’t make a stink about it. Use the sign-in sheet and take a listing pamphlet. If you want valuable information about a home you are considering it certainly won’t hurt to throw in a compliment and a smile. Remember being rude or dismissive could mean getting snubbed for another offer and missing out on the home of your dreams. Save the criticisms for after you leave, there will be plenty of time to talk things over in the car.
3. Time To Put On Your Poker Face
This little piece of advice goes hand in hand with the last one. Just like kindness, a little bit of tact will serve you immeasurably. While attending open houses it is important to engage, but it is also important not to give out to much information. We share information about our situation and ourselves all the time without even knowing it. It is not always what we say, sometimes we share crucial information with our body language. Try to remain neutral while you are in the house. Be engaging, and don’t worry if they ask a few questions, the seller and their agent are just trying to find out if you are a serious buyer. It’s ok to let the buyer know your looking, just don’t let them know if they’ve got you over a barrel. Letting the seller in on a specific timeframe, or other influences that might be putting pressure on your purchase puts the cards in their hands so to speak. You only need to provide the information you are comfortable with but don’t be defensive about sharing it.
4. Look Beyond The Superficial
During your whirlwind tour of open houses, be prepared to quell any knee-jerk impulses that may arise. Just like the “Poker Face” mentioned above. It’s just as important not to be too dismissive. You may walk into a home that hasn’t been staged well, or is in desperate need of a coat of paint or new carpet. It happens all the time. Sellers don’t recognize the value of getting their home ready to sell and their agent cant convince them or don’t know how to properly host an open house. They think the world will be in love with grandmas’ lace curtains and hummel collections just like they are. Remember, you aren’t buying the lace curtains and hummels. Carpet can be replaced and walls can be painted, all with relative ease and most of the time it can be done at a reasonable price. You may feel a little revulsion at first, but take a moment to catch your breath and scratch beneath the surface a bit. You may be staring at a diamond in the rough.
5. Ask Questions, and Listen, Just Remember to be Polite.
If you haven’t guessed by now, whether you are just checking out the competition, a serious homebuyer or simply window shopping, the first and last rule is to be polite. Here’s where it comes in handy again. You will want to ask a few questions. As we mentioned before, the agent hosting the open house works for the seller, so be prepared to get carefully chosen responses to your questions. Be polite, listen to the response, many times they give you the answers you are searching for by what they don’t say in the spaces between what they do.
Do you have more questions about you what to look for while attending an open house in Washington state and the greater Seattle area? Let the mortgage professionals at Sammamish Mortgage guide you. Family owned and operated for more than 20 years, we know what you value. Let us help you understand the ins and outs of home financing and more. Sammamish Mortgage offers a variety of loan programs including FHA and VA mortgages. Regardless of your situation, we can guide you through the process. If you have questions about securing a mortgage in Washington State, or would like a rate quote, please contact our friendly staff. We look forward to serving you.