By John Szolomayer
Are you currently in the market for a new house? Believe it or not, the good, old fashion, open house can be a great way to find the best home in your budget. This is especially true in the spring when weekends are typically packed with open houses; many debuting fresh properties to a market currently experiencing low inventory. Many homes are currently not available for showing until an open house.
Unless you are prepared for the crowds, and confident of your purpose, spending a weekend open house hopping can feel more like a tough mudder event than a useful way to find your dream home. However, if you do a little advanced training, you can beat out your competition and score a great price on the freshest home on the market. Here are some tips:
- Make a plan – Select a day and pick a target area you’re interested in. Most open houses occur between 11-4:00 p.m. Check with your real estate agent to recommend four to six homes you would be interested in. Visiting any more than six in one day can simulate the feeling of crawling through mud on your belly to get under barbed wire. A good agent will inform seller agents at the open houses you’re coming, or accompany you on your tours. If you are going it alone, use a mapping app to program addresses so you don’t get lost, something like the SIR mobile app.
- Crunch the numbers before hand – Chances are if a home is new to the market, it is being listed at its highest possible asking price and therefore up for negotiation. If a home is a few thousand dollars above your price range, it’s ok, pack your mortgage preapproval letter, and add the home to your list. Double check to see how long each house has been on the market, this can tell you a lot about how each house is fairing in the market, and also creates room for negotiation.
- Know what to look for and who to talk to – When the listing agent greets you at an open house, let them know who your real estate agent is, hand them a business card from the stack your agent gave you, and then feel free to ask all the questions you can think of: What are the utility costs? How old are the appliances and heating system? Where are the closest amenities? Use the selling agent’s knowledge of the home and ask for marketing materials to take notes. Send a text or email to your agent while you are at each open house to share your thoughts on each home.
Open House hopping can be a fun, fast, and easy way to hunt for your dream house so long as you hop in prepared. Enjoy the process by working with your local agent on the above tips, and you will be positioned to take full advantage of the exciting, and fast moving, spring market. Information provided by John Szolomayer from Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Hopkinton. Each office is independently owned and operated. John can be reached for more information at 508.259.4788 or JohnSzolomayer.com