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Making the Best of Open Houses

By Sadiya Anjum

Open Houses are not as popular as they used to be but the concept has not died out yet. When home hunting, if you come across an advertisement/ sign for an open house and its close to what you are looking for then you should pay a visit. The open house may actually land up being perfect for you or at worst, it will give you a better idea about prices and other factors when purchasing a home later.

Whether its just this one open house or several that you visit, you need to note down as many details as you can if you want this experience to aid you in your home buying process. The first thing to do is to jot down points in detail about the various factors about the house. Begin with your first impression of the house and end with what you think about it after having viewed it. With permission from the owner or agent who is hosting the open house, take a few pictures of the home. Also note the neighborhood and the distance of the home from schools, parks, hospitals, stores etc.

An open house gives you freedom to snoop around and look to your heartís content. So begin with examining the size of the rooms (use a measuring tape if necessary) and the number of them. Observe the conditions of the cabinets, storage areas, closets, walls, ceilings, carpet etc. Check the bathrooms for any funny odors and if all faucets and showers are in working condition. Also note down the number of bathrooms and see if this is sufficient for your needs. When looking through the kitchen, do not get distracted by any wafting smell of cookies. Check the cabinets here, storage space, taps etc.

Any open house that you visit has obviously been cleaned and prepared for visitors. So you need to watch out closely for any signs of dampness on the walls or ceilings. Check out the basement for the same. If viewing the garage, check to see if there is sufficient space for your needs.

You can also note down simple details about the view from the windows, back and front door. You do not want a house that is crowded by bigger houses on either side of it. Stand outside for a few minutes to listen to the sounds of loud traffic or a train passing close by. For an overall and accurate judgment, picture yourself cooking in the kitchen, playing with the kids on the yard and just living in the house. If you have any questions, ask the owner or agent selling that home. Ask intelligent questions or rather frame your questions well if you want to get decent answers.

Visiting an open house does not have to be all business or all pleasure. You have the opportunity to view a house at your own time. Make the most of this opportunity. If you bump into other agents offering you their services or brokers promising you loans, smile politely, take their visiting cards and think about calling later. Donít get swayed by their persuasive talks.

Open house is an opportunity to get the feel of the various homes in the market or to actually find your dream home. So visit open houses and do your window shopping in a relaxed atmosphere.

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