Blog / Open House Dos and Don’ts for Buyers


Open House Dos and Don’ts for Buyers

Open houses are exciting for buyers, but they can also lead to some mistakes. These simple tips will make it easy for you to navigate open houses like a pro.

Do: Be Thorough

If the current owners still live in the home, it can feel strange to wander around and really get a good look at the place. However, it’s normal for a prospective buyer to open closet doors and kitchen cabinets. Dressers and other furniture that’s not staying in the house is off limits, and you should exercise restraint in bathrooms, where residents may be keeping personal items in cabinets and drawers. But any other built-in elements are fair game. The sellers want you to buy their house, so they won’t be offended if you take a thorough look when you’re really interested in a property.

Don’t: Get Too Hung Up on Decor (With Notable Exceptions)

For better or for worse, everyone has different tastes. It’s just one of those things that makes us human. Some people may love dark colors and exposed wood while others may prefer sleek, minimalist white. If the current owner’s belongings are still in the home and you don’t like the wall color, the furniture layout of a room or even the way they’ve chosen to organize their pots and pans in the kitchen, don’t let that get in the way of your assessment. Superficial decor can always be changed.

Some decorative elements are more substantial and therefore more difficult to fix. If the bathroom tile is a color that turns your stomach, for example, that may be worth factoring into your final decision. Expensive details like these may not be worth the cost if you aren’t wild about the rest of the home or simply don’t have the room in your budget.

Do: Look Beyond the House Itself

Make sure you aren’t focusing solely on the home’s interior. You don’t need to do an actual structural inspection (unless you happen to have skills in this area and want to take a preliminary look), but you should check out the outdoor area around the house or apartment. Is there enough outdoor space for your needs? Do the neighbors seem polite? Does the property feel private enough? Think about the property as a whole rather than just the rooms inside.

Don’t: Arrive Too Late

Sure, most realtors and real estate agents will be happy to stick around a little later than scheduled, but some may genuinely need to close up shop and leave at the specified time. Either way, it’s good form both for your own purposes and as a courtesy to the realtor to give yourself plenty of time. Depending on how large the property is and how interested you are, 15 minutes or less may be plenty, but don’t cut it close if you don’t have to.

NOTE: Image credit: Pixabay