Open houses are among the few exciting things in the home buying process. You get to see pretty furniture and decor, take a brief break from legal and financial paperwork, and the best of all, allow yourself to imagine enjoying your own place.
But before you get too caught up with all the fun, do note that it takes some serious planning and strategy to make open houses a meaningful experience. If you want to make the most out of it, here are some tips:
Many homebuyers tend to be fascinated with the pretty details of a home that they forget their non-negotiables. It’s hard to see that a small kitchen is a deal breaker when you have soft, sheer draperies, colorful throw pillows, and nice color schemes luring you in. But try hard to look past the aesthetics and instead focus on your home essentials.
The best way to go about this is to keep reminding yourself of your budget. When you have a strong awareness of just how much house you can afford, you’ll be able to prioritize your non-negotiables and quit justifying that small kitchen. This means that just before you go to open houses, you should have been able to talk to loan officers. Mortgage shopping in Salt Lake City should be one of your priorities.
Plot Your Path
In most instances, open houses happen during the weekends. This can be a good thing, that you’ll be able to see a lot of properties in one go. But at the same time, it could work against you, tiring you out quickly and leaving you disoriented by the third or fourth home—if you visit places at random, without a plan.
Identify where the open houses are and plot them in a map, digital or physical, taking note of the specific schedules. From here, decide on the order of the properties to visit, so you wouldn’t go back and forth or miss any house. If the homes are only a few blocks away from each other, wear comfy footwear, preferably those you can slip on and off easily. And while on your way between homes, have a chat with some of your future neighbors to get a feel of the community.
Pull Out Your Pen and Phone
If you’re having a marathon of unit viewings, it’s hard to remember details of the home you’ve seen, especially by the time that you get to your fifth or sixth property. That’s why it’s important to take notes and pictures when you’re visiting.
Sure, the agent will hand out flyers to you, but do you really want to carry that many papers on your trips from house to house? Scribble notes, complete with the snaps. Some stuff you’d need to get on paper are the exact dimensions of the house and lot, the feel of the home, your first impressions, and your over-all numerical rating. It’s best if you and your spouse will have separate notes so you can discuss in-detail later.
Open houses are fun, but don’t let the excitement blind you from your serious task of making this experience productive and efficient. Remember these rules as you set foot on different properties.