When visiting an open house, homebuyers can expect to tour the inside and outside of the home for sale. But what do home sellers expect from homebuyers visiting the open house? If you plan on touring a St. Louis or St. Charles County, Missouri open house you’ll want to learn these ground rules to be a great guest and an astute homebuyer.
1. Inspect and Respect the Neighbors
When arriving at the open house inspect the neighborhood and the neighbors, as these could one day be your neighbors. Take note of the condition of the neighbors’ homes and if they maintain their property. When parking, be respectful. Don’t block a neighbor’s driveway or cut through their yard to get to the front door of the open house.
2. Show Up Early
Showing up early at an open house will help you avoid any crowds. This will also give you more time to speak with the agent or seller holding the open house and ask pertinent questions. But don’t monopolize the agent’s time if there are multiple people viewing the home.
3. Remove Shoes
Many home sellers will ask open house attendees to remove their shoes. This is often because the sellers have had their floors cleaned, waxed or shampooed to make their home look its best. Some home sellers may provide cloth booties to put over your shoes. Other home sellers won’t mind if you remove shoes or not. Knowing this will help you decide if you want to wear slip-on or other easy-to-remove shoes to open houses.
4. Sign In
The home seller or real estate agent hosting the open house will likely ask you to sign in and if you currently have an agent. The information you will be asked to provide when signing in is usually name, phone number and email address. Use your real information. This gives the seller or agent the opportunity to follow up with you if the home is reduced in price or other changes are made. If you’re working with an agent, let them know. If not, this is a good opportunity to interview the agent.
5. Special Instructions
There may be special instructions for those visiting the open house. A family pet could be crated or enclosed in a specific area that you should be aware of so you aren’t startled. Or there may be construction being performed on an area of the house that could be dangerous for children or those not paying attention. So check if the agent or home seller has special instructions you should be aware of. You may even learn something about the home that you would not know otherwise.
6. To Open or Not to Open
When touring a home for sale home sellers usually expect that homebuyers will open and look in cabinets and closets to inspect for size and space but it is a good rule of thumb to ask if you can do so. Do not open furniture that is not attached to the home such as dressers, side tables, armoires, jewelry boxes or other furniture where the sellers keep personal items.
7. What to Look For
When visiting an open house get a closer look at the home’s major systems and appliances to see the condition. Use the opportunity to check for foundation cracks or old plumbing or wiring. Also check for dampness in the basement or if the land around the home is graded to keep water out of the home.
8. Ask Questions
If questions arise as you tour an open house, ask the home seller or agent holding the open house. Since the listing description that appears on websites and the multiple listing service won’t be able to tell you every single detail about a home, this is a great chance to get more information. Asking about the neighbors, neighborhood, the age of the roof and major systems like the furnace and air conditioner, and if the appliances stay with the home are all good questions. Keep in mind that agents holding an open house are not allowed to say if a home seller is willing to take less for a home.
9. Use a Buyer’s Agent
A listing agent holding an open house represents the seller’s best interest. Keep in mind that working with a separate buyer’s agent means that you have an agent on your side that represents your best interests as the homebuyer in the transaction. A buyer’s agent doesn’t have to go to open houses with you, but having one means you’ll have an expert on hand to represent and negotiate for your best interests as well as follow up on what you saw at the open house.
Is moving on your mind? The Boehmer Team has experienced buyer’s agents to help you navigate and procure the home you want in a competitive real estate market. If you are thinking of buying a home in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area, be sure to interview TheBoehmer Team. You can learn more about The Boehmer Team and search for open houses in the area and price range of your choice at www.TheBoehmerTeam.com. If you’re selling a home and would like to know what is expected from home sellers for an open house, check out our article Open House Etiquette for Sellers.