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Open House Tips for Buyers Looking to Succeed

The market is full of buyers who feel pressured to find their dream home as they often need to compete with other offers. 

Buyers have been feeling the squeeze as they struggle to find the perfect home amid high demand and low inventory. So, if you’re in the market for a new home, attending open houses is a great way to get a feel for what’s out there. 

But there’s more to it than just showing up and looking around. This article lists a few open house tips for buyers so that you can maximize your open house experience.

Open House Tips for Buyers: What to Bring, What to Look for

If you’re planning on attending an open house, there are a few things you can do to prepare in advance.  

  • Be mindful of your budget. 

Make sure you have a clear idea of your budget and what you want in a home before going to an open house. It’s ideal getting pre-approved for a mortgage before looking for your dream house. This way, you’d know how much you can really afford and narrow down your search. 

After knowing your budget remember your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers, and be prepared to ask the real estate agent questions about the property. With a clear idea of what you can afford and what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the perfect property in no time. 

[Related Article: How to Increase the Mortgage Pre-Approval Amount?]

  • Identify your ideal home.

When visiting an open house, it’s important to consider the whole property. Is it well-maintained, or does it need some work? If it needs work, is it something you could fix, or is it a deal-breaker for you?

Also, take note of the layout and flow of the home. Is it open and spacious, or closed off and cramped? 

Finally, consider whether the home has the features and amenities that are important to you. Does it have a backyard, or is it located near public transportation? 

By taking the time to consider these factors, you can help narrow down your search and find the perfect home for you.

  • Attend the open house with a real estate agent.

A professional real estate agent will be able to answer any questions you have about the home and the purchasing process. Additionally, they will be able to provide you with a tour of the property and point out any features that may be of interest to you. This can help you decide whether it’s the right fit for you.

We host many open houses every month. Make sure to get in touch with us if you don’t want to miss out on those!

  • Don’t forget your documents. 

Bringing your documentation to an open house is a good idea if you have already been pre-approved for a mortgage. Having your paperwork on hand will help in two ways. 

First, if you find a home you’re interested in, you can immediately make an offer. 

Second, displaying your documentation to the seller conveys that you’re serious about buying a home and have the financial means to do so. 

Some additional open house tips for buyers to keep in mind include:

  • Please do not bring pets or boisterous children with you. 
  • Sign in when you arrive.
  • Be sure to ask for permission before taking photos while walking through the house.
  • Be respectful of the homeowners and their property. Don’t go into any off-limits rooms, and be careful not to damage anything.
  • Be considerate of other visitors. Don’t monopolize the homeowners’ time, and be respectful of others’ personal space. 
  • Remember to follow up with the homeowners after the open house. Thank them for their hospitality, and let them know you’re interested in the property if that’s the case.

Look for these things in an open house:

Don’t be fooled by a home’s appearance! 

Whether it’s staged to look perfect or there are delicious snacks laid out, you want to be sure to look past all of that to see if it’s a suitable investment for you.

Take plenty of notes as you go along so you can remember what you liked and didn’t like about each place. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at many homes. By taking notes, you won’t forget what made a particular house special and unique to you.

When looking for a place to live, make sure to look for areas that can accommodate your hobbies or work-from-home lifestyle if that’s important to you. 

The last thing you want is to move in to find there is no place to put your treadmill or no room in the kitchen to bake.

Take the time to think about what you need in a home and find a place that can give you the space you need to pursue your passions.

Questions to ask during an open house:

You should feel free to ask any questions you have about the property on your open house visit. Perhaps you’d like to know more about schools or parks in the nearby area. The agent hosting the open house should be able to provide you with this information; if they can’t, they can direct you to someone who can. 

Asking questions is a great way to get a feel for a property and see if it’s the right fit for you.

It is also important to find out what the property’s history is. How long has it been on the market? What is the reason for the current owners selling? This will give you some insight into the property and why it may or may not be a good fit for you.

Last but not least, ask about the property itself. What is the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other relevant details? This will help you better understand whether the property is the right size for you and whether it has the amenities you are looking for.

Observations to make:

We suggest you have this checklist handy when you’re attending open houses to get a sense of the property and its potential. First, take a look at the condition of the property. This includes things like the condition of the walls, floors, ceilings, and any other visible features.

Next, assess the property’s layout. This means considering things like the number of rooms, the size of the rooms, and the overall flow of the space.

Another important thing is to know which appliances and things are going to stay in the house after purchasing it and the conditions of those. We suggest you check the appliances’ conditions.

You should make sure that all the appliances are in good working order and that there are no signs of wear and tear. If you see any appliances that look like they need to be replaced, you should factor that into your decision.

Finally, take a look at the surrounding area. This includes the neighborhood, the local amenities, and the commute to and from the property. By examining all of these factors, you’ll get a better sense of whether or not the property is right for you. 

Open house red flags: 

When considering buying a home, it’s important to be aware of any red flags that may come up during the open house. Some red flags can be easily overlooked, but they can sign serious problems with the home. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • The home is in disrepair. If the home is in poor condition, it may have hidden problems that could be expensive to fix.
  • There are signs of water damage. Water damage can be a sign of serious structural problems or leaks.
  • See if the house is sinking, and look for cracks or any signs that show problems in the soil or structure of the property.
  • The home is cluttered or dirty. A cluttered or dirty home can signify that the sellers are trying to hide something.
  • Your real estate agent is pushy or doesn’t seem to care about your interests. Considering alternatives is a good idea at this point. 
  • It probably is when a home’s price seems too good to be true. Do your research and use your best judgment when attending open houses.
  • Something that often happens is that in areas with a lot of noise from cars, planes, or industrial noise, the owner plays music to hide it, so consider all external factors.
  • The sellers are unwilling to negotiate on the price. If the sellers are inflexible on the price, it could be because they know there are problems with the home. Consider if the house requires flood insurance.

If you see any of these red flags, it is important to proceed with caution. An open house is not the time to make a hasty decision – if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut and ensure you are comfortable with any decision you make.


Open houses can be a great way to scope out the market and get a feel for what’s out there when shopping for a new home. However, it’s important to remember that the seller is in control during an open house. 

It’s important to take everything you hear with a grain of salt and do your research as well. If you don’t feel comfortable with the property or the seller, don’t be afraid to walk away. 

Being at an open house doesn’t mean you’re obligated to make an offer. If you’re not feeling it, there’s no shame in moving on to the next one.

If you want to have a trusted real estate agent to help you during the house hunting and open house process, please get in touch with us. We’ll make this experience a thousand times better for you- guaranteed!

In case the property could generate some passive income, we’ll help you determine the possible returns and if it’s a good business. We would also help you see how much the current tenants are paying for rent to see if you can get more out of the property.

To contact us, call us anytime at (617)729-2967 or schedule a free consultation with us.

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