If you prefer the open house format to view a house at your own leisure, you need to know how to find them. Every weekend, sellers open up their homes in the hopes of finding a willing buyer. Learn how to find open houses easily and enhance your home search.
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Use the Internet
The internet offers a wealth of knowledge for homebuyers. Websites, like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin offer information on current and upcoming open houses. Just search your area to find the open houses near you. You can head straight to any of the above-mentioned websites or use Google. Just search for open houses in ‘your city’ and you’ll see a spattering of listings.
Include realtor’s websites in your search online. Many realtors have a filter or an app set up making it easy to search for open houses. Before you head out to any of the open houses listed, though, check the listings on that day. This way you’ll know the listing is current and nothing changed.
In addition to Google and realtor websites, use social media to your advantage. Use the following tips to get detailed results:
- Hashtags – Search using the hashtag #openhouse and you’ll receive the most recent listings in your area
- Follow realtor social media pages – Find the top realtors in your area and follow their pages for the most current open house listings
- Follow your city’s ‘for sale pages’ – Each city has a page dedicated to items for sale, including homes with open houses
Look Around the Area
Technology is great, but you can still find open houses the old-fashioned way. Drive around the desired area you want to live and look for open house signs. Realtors and sellers generally put large signs and flags on homes to catch the attention of the passerby.
Work With a Realtor
If doing the legwork yourself doesn’t appeal to you, sign up with a realtor. A reputable realtor has access to the latest open house listings and can let you know about them right away. Realtors can take you to any open house, not just the houses they list themselves. Because they have access to the MLS listings, they’ll likely know about the listings long before you do.
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How to Use Open Houses
It’s one thing to find open houses, but do you know how to use them effectively? First, use the time wisely. This is your time to view the house without pressure. While you can ask questions of the realtor and/or seller, it’s a time to walk through the home without anyone walking with you. Other potential buyers may be in the home at the same time doing the same thing.
Realtors and sellers host open houses to get the word out about the home for sale. They gather contact information of potentially interested parties, but for the most part, it’s about networking. Open houses help garner more interest in a home, which may bring more buyers in following the open house, increasing the chances of the home selling.
As you go through the open house, look for:
- The home’s layout
- The home’s cosmetic appearance
- The home’s condition beyond the cosmetic appearance
- Any problem areas
- Any areas of concerns
Once you have your list, feel free to ask the realtor/seller any questions. Don’t offer your opinion on the home or show any interest, though. The seller’s agent represents the seller. If you are considering the home, bring your own realtor back with you to get his/her input and help creating the right offer.
Open houses are a great way to get a feel for the neighborhood and even view many houses on one day. You can learn a lot about a home during an open house and even learn what others think of it as you browse together. Find open houses in your area and use them to your advantage when shopping for a home.