The scent of freshly baked cookies wafting through the house? Check. Eager agent milling about? Check. Blue paper shoe covers that make you look decidedly Smurf-like? Check.
Ah, the joys of the open house …
The crowd at open houses is usually a mix of nosy neighbors (“I’ve always wanted to get a peek at their backyard …”), habitual house hunters (you know, the ones who are “just looking”), and, of course, serious buyers. If you fall into the serious buyer camp, you might be interested in an article in the Real Estate Guide that covers what you should and shouldn’t do at open houses.
As the article says, open houses can be a great opportunity for gathering information on the house and the neighborhood. The agent showing the house can give you some good info, and the neighbors who will inevitably pop in are a fantastic resource. They might even be able to give you the scoop on other neighbors who are about to sell their homes.
While it’s good to chat up the agent and the neighbors, it’s important to remember to keep your opinions on the house to yourself (stuff one of those cookies in your mouth, if you have to!). Remember, you might be negotiating with the seller’s agent later, so you don’t want them to know how much you adore this house, thus reducing your negotiating leverage. Conversely, if you voice criticisms about the home, that might also come back to bite you later.
Thinking about buying new construction? The article also covers what you should look for and ask when visiting a developer’s open house.