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If you’re starting your home search in St. Louis, visiting open houses will likely become a regular occurrence for you. These events provide a great opportunity to explore a home you’re interested in. While some buyers will load their weekends with open houses and zip through each one, others are more strategic. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re visiting open houses:
Keep it Small
Your group, that is. Showing up to an open house with a large group of people isn’t usually proper open-house etiquette. It can be distracting to other visitors, take up too much space, and convey that you’re not a serious buyer. Limit your group to the people who need to be there. If you’re buying alone, bringing along one other person for feedback is great. If you’re buying with a partner, visiting as a couple is perfect. Showing up with 4 friends in tow? Not the best idea.
Respect the Space
While it will vary from house to house, consider removing your shoes upon entering. Open houses are a delicate balance when it comes to exploring and investigating. You want to see if the house could be a good fit for you, which may mean opening cabinets and closets to see the storage space, for example, but you also don’t want to appear to be a snoop. The purpose of an open house is for potential buyers to explore, so don’t neglect looking into something important because you’re unsure. When in doubt, talk to the agent or host to get the green light.
Know What You’re Looking For
If you’re a serious buyer, you’ll stick to open houses that are a real match for you. While some buyers will visit places well out of their price range out of curiosity, serious buyers know how to maximize their time. They know their budget, the number of bedrooms they want, and other must-haves, and they plan their open-house visits accordingly. Beyond that, they also know what they’re looking for when they’re in the space. Are there certain features, appliances, or layouts that are important to you? An open house is a great opportunity to see first hand what a space has to offer.
Keep Your Eyes Open for Red Flags
Homebuyers should do their research and know about potential red flags. Foundation issues, warped window frames, mold, and water damage, for example, are just a handful of issues that can be red flags to buyers. If you spot one of these things, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cross the house off your list, just be sure to note it and get more information if you continue to be interested in the property.
While you absolutely want to get a real sense of the house, you also want to be efficient in your visit. Open houses aren’t meant to be lengthy trips. To respect the host and other prospective buyers, take the time to get the information you need, and then be on your way.
Open houses are a great opportunity for prospective buyers. Being sure to understand and respect open-house etiquette can make the experience more positive for all involved. Have you been to an open house recently? Share your thoughts with us.