For first-time home buyers, open houses can feel like an essential part of the buying process, and though they can be fun, they can also be intimidating and hectic. This is even truer in the Bay Area where homes move quickly, competition can be fierce and open houses will be crowded.
But the best bonuses of visiting an open house aren’t even necessarily related to buying the home. These events provide opportunities to explore the neighborhood during its busiest times. You get to see a home without going through the process of scheduling a showing; you can visit several homes in one day, and it’s a low-pressure way to ease into the homebuying process.
If that sounds good to you, then it’s about time to track down an open house. Using our Open House Search, you can find homes listed by our agents and hundreds of others listed by other brokerages, too. You can even refine your search based on your budget, your desired size, your preferred location, nearby schools and more. If you have any questions, please reach out to us directly here.
1. Make a list of the things you want to look for.
Open houses can be chaotic. When you’re looking through a new space, meeting agents and navigating the crowd, you don’t want to miss the essentials. So, before you arrive, make a list of the things you want to make sure you see. Check out the closet space, locate the outlets, look out the windows and admire the views. Whatever you want, give yourself a reminder to look for it.
2. Don’t bring children or pets.
As we mentioned, open houses can be crowded places. It’s important for your children and pets to love the home, too, but the open house isn’t the place to introduce them. The more little ones there are, the more likely something could break or get dirty.
3. You can just walk in.
This might be the most Googled question regarding open houses, but there’s no need to ring the doorbell or knock! You can walk right in, introduce yourself, sign up and start exploring.
4. Make sure your shoes are clean.
Even if they are, you may be asked to wear protective coverings over your shoes to protect the carpet and flooring. After all, if this was your brand new home, you wouldn’t want shoe prints everywhere, right?
5. Take notes.
Whether you bring your own notepad or use the available flyers, take notes about the things you like and don’t like about the house. That way, you can be realistic later without relying on your memory. Pick up the marketing materials, too, so you can remember the specifics about both the home and the agent.
6. You’ll probably be asked for contact info.
There are typically sign-in sheets at open houses, so the selling agent can reach out afterward. He or she may ask if you’re currently working with an agent, what you’re looking for, and what you thought of this particular home. Be honest! This is a great time to give feedback, talk about the local market and ask more questions.
7. Ask questions.
Whether you’re speaking to the selling agent or to more experienced buyers at the same open house, talk to everyone and ask questions. The agent is going to be your best resource for information about this home and also about the surrounding neighborhood. Ask things about other homes in the area, what attractions and businesses are nearby, how many days this home has been on the market, and any other questions you may have about the home, the area and the housing market in general.
8. There may be a lot of people.
Bay Area open houses can get crowded, especially if you’re looking at homes under a certain price point. That point is typically around $1.5 million. Above that, you may be looking through the house with one or two dozen families, but below that, expect a crowd. This is when your pre-made list and your notes will come in handy the most!
9. Feel free to interview the agent.
If you’re a casual buyer and haven’t chosen your agent yet, this is a good opportunity to meet some great ones. So, introduce yourself, ask questions, find out how they conduct themselves during an open house. You may find out you want them to represent you as a buyer for this home or for another!
10. You might not get this house.
The Bay Area market can be fast-moving and highly competitive amongst buyers. When you’re visiting an open house, understand that you might not get this particular home, but use the experience as an opportunity to learn everything you can. Explore the neighborhood, compare this home to others you’ve seen, ask questions and meet the agent. And, of course, if you love it, make an offer.
Ready to buy?
At McGuire Real Estate, we’ve been leading the Bay Area real estate market for a century. On our website, mcguire.com, you’ll find several different ways to search for available homes, including the Map Search so you can get a visual on the area and narrow by location, the Advanced Search so you can search specific keywords and features, and our Open House Search, which helps you track down open houses represented by our agents and by other brokerages throughout the Bay Area.
If you’re ready to buy, we invite you to meet our agents here, get information on working with us here and contact us directly here.