2023 Travel Trend: Visiting Open Houses in Your Down Time
When the topic of travelling comes up, most people’s minds immediately conjure images of sweaty backpackers navigating rainforests and deserts. However, travelling by definition is just going somewhere else. Therefore, you do not need to leave your country or even your town to travel.
Vagabondish is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our disclosure.
A popular trend among young people right now, particularly homebuyers, is visiting open houses. An open house is a house listed for sale that interested parties can visit on a specific day, without booking.
This post will tell you why you should be visiting open houses in your downtime:
Tracking Open Houses
Before you can start attending open houses, you need to find them. Searching for open houses can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. The web’s top site for finding open houses anywhere is EXP Realty because it regularly updates its listings and allows verified realtors to post information about open houses. Many property platforms do not update their listings, instead leaving expired ones live. If you have ever tried to find information about open houses on sites other than the one mentioned above, you will know how difficult and irritating it can be.
Take some time to confirm the open house dates you have found, just so you can make sure the listings are up to date. Sometimes, dates change. Provided you are using a reliable platform like the one quoted previously, you will be able to reach out to the realty agency listing the open house via live chat. Alternatively, you can send them an email or phone their office. Confirming dates before visiting will help you prevent yourself from wasting time in case of cancellations.
Even though an open house is an opportunity to freely walk around another person’s home, you must still remember that somebody else lives there. Put more plainly, you need to have manners. A staggeringly large amount of people seem to leave their manners at the doorstep when they attend open houses, going through people’s cupboards and drawers, and walking around with their shoes on. Be polite, respectful, and direct. Any questions can be directed to either the realtor present or the property’s owner. More likely than not though, the property’s owner will not be present for the open house.
Some people go to open houses just to explore other people’s homes and visit new neighbourhoods. Others go because they are genuinely interested in purchasing a property. If you fall into the latter category of people then make sure to take a notepad with you so that you can record your feelings and emotions as they happen, giving you a better idea of what you thought of the house later on when you return to them. If you can then take pictures. Obtain the property owner’s permission before taking photographs, however, especially if their furniture and personal effects are still there.
Even if you are buying a house on your own it is a good idea to bring somebody along with you as they might be able to spot things that you have missed, like dampness for example. If you are buying a house with your spouse or partner, then bring them with you for obvious reasons. Usually, you do not have to book places in open houses, you can just turn up. However, if you plan on bringing a group of people then it might be worth notifying the realty agency managing the property first, so they can book you in. Turning up unexpectedly with a group of people will likely annoy the property owner and supervising realtor.
A house is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make. Unless you take care, you could end up buying one in an area that’s not ideal for you. Location is an important factor in determining the suitability of a property. Take some time after or before your viewing to explore, and check out local amenities. At the very least you will need public transport access, grocery stores, and a mall. If you have children then schools are an important consideration.
Take some time to explore the area around the open house, investigating amenities as recommended in the previous section. Crime is an important factor to take into consideration as well. Across the United States, property crimes are becoming more common. Wherever you are moving, you need to feel safe there. Read crime statistics for the area so you can be sure it is a safe place for you to raise your family. Walking around the neighbourhood will help you to get an idea of what it feels like, what the locals are like, and whether or not there are any obvious signs of crime, i.e., graffiti.
When you are attending an open house, bring a list of questions. Asking the realtor questions will give you a better idea of what it’ll be like living in the property. If you have never been to an open house before then you will probably have no idea what questions to ask, so consider doing some research online first. Gathering a list of questions from an online guide will help you to find out everything you need to know about the property. Do not hesitate to ask any questions, even if you think they might offend the property owner. You need to be totally satisfied a property is right for you before buying it.
Bear in mind that at open houses, hundreds of people sometimes attend in a single day. Therefore, there is no guarantee you are going to get a house just because you like it. It is a good idea to attend several open houses in a single day if you can. Spend time using your chosen property platform, looking for open houses booked on the same day, in the same area. You do not need to book, as already mentioned, you can just turn up at them.
When you are buying a new house, realtors commonly exaggerate a property’s interest to rush you into making an offer. Sometimes once offers have been made realty agencies lie about higher offers being made, so you increase your price. Realty agents can make the property buying process very stressful with fake offers and whatnot. It can be very difficult to determine whether or not an agent is lying or telling the truth, and when you have found the perfect property, it’s normal to make higher offers that could perhaps be affordable out of desperation.
One of the best things about open houses is that you can easily assess how much interest there is in a property by attending them. Turning up as early as you can in the day and spending most of the morning and afternoon there will help you to get a true idea of how many people want to buy it. Then, you can make reasonable offers. If nobody turns up other than you then you will be able to see an agent’s bluff when they try to tell you that it is extremely popular and is receiving an insane amount of interest.
When you go on a booked property viewing, you are usually under time constraints. Agents typically book people in groups, meaning multiple people will arrive at the same time, with each person getting around ten minutes. Subsequent viewings can be arranged, but again, people are pressured to get in and out as quickly as possible. This can make viewing houses very stressful. It can also make it difficult for people to really tell whether a house is for them or not. Since house purchases are the biggest buys most people will ever make, great care needs to go into them. To that end, they should not be rushed.
Going to an open house means you will not be under time constraints, you can spend as long as you want to view the house. Open days usually last for six or seven hours at a time. You can go in and stay for as long as you want, as long as you don’t become a nuisance. Many open houses will have facilities for you to sit down and have something to drink, which can make getting a true impression of a house even easier.
Getting hold of realtors once they have returned to their offices can be challenging at times. Some do not respond to their emails and others are so busy that they do not return calls or listen to voicemails. If the agency you are dealing with is based in a large town or city, then this will probably be the case. Getting answers to your questions is essential if you are to commit to buying a house. You cannot confidently buy a house unless you have all of your queries and concerns satisfied, by the realtor or the seller.
Attending open houses means you can ask realtors as many questions as you want, as they will be there all day and will have nothing to do other than show people around the house. Sometimes sellers are present on open days, which then gives you the chance to ask them questions about the property’s neighbours, location, and anything else that you want to know. Bring a list of questions as mentioned earlier so you can satisfy any concerns you have. Make sure to give serious thought to your questions, so you do not rush through them and leave things out.
When you attend viewings of properties, you are under time constraints. This means that it can be hard to get a true impression of a property. Some issues only become obvious after you have spent a great deal of time in a house. While an open day is certainly not a great deal of time, it is enough for you to conduct a thorough investigation. Your time in the house should be spent looking for flaws and problems, so you can figure out whether or not you are going to have to make repairs in the future. Identifying problems then gives you the opportunity to raise them with the seller and ask them to lower the property’s price or make repairs themselves.
It does need to be noted, most mortgage lenders will require people to have surveys conducted on the properties they are interested in buying. A surveyor’s job is to look for flaws and problems not mentioned by the seller or realtor, such as structural issues or dampness. You should still try to look for problems yourself but if you cannot find any, rest assured in the knowledge that the surveyor you hire will conduct a thorough investigation and identify any issues you have not noticed yourself.
When a person is interested in buying a house, they make an offer. This offer is then taken to the seller by the realtor, who presents the potential buyer’s offer. The seller will then take some time to think this offer through, and reject, counteroffer or accept. If the seller accepts the buyer’s offer then their conveyancers get in touch with each other and the purchase is processed. If the offer is sent back and a counteroffer is made, the ball is in the buyer’s court. If the seller rejects then the buyer has to make another, higher offer.
The good thing about attending open days is that you can make offers directly to the seller if they are present. It is not exactly uncommon for realtors to try and push buyers to increase their prices, even when they make offers the seller would in theory be happy with. Making an offer directly to a property’s seller allows you to cut out the middleman, or the agent, and get your hands on the house that you want without having to deal with inflated prices and haggling tactics.
Everybody dreams of buying a house. When you are in a stable enough position to buy one for yourself, great care needs to go into finding the perfect place. Experts advise shopping around, using property platforms, and attending open days. Open days give buyers the chance to get a true impression of a house, so they can then make a decision based on their accurate assessments of it, rather than photos and emotions.