How to Maximize Your Open House Experience

After years in the business, I have spent thousands of weekends hosting open houses. I find them a great way to keep a pulse on the number of active buyers in the market. They provide insight into neighbourhood demographics and diversity and of course they are a great way to market a property and represent the Seller’s best interests.

I see all kinds of people come through my open houses.  It is fun to see such a wide variety of shoppers touring homes on a Saturday afternoon.  At a typical open house I always see neighbours, comparing value to their own home. The educated Buyers, who know the location and can speak to the comparables. The inquisitive Buyers, who take the opportunity to gain knowledge of the home or the market and there are always a few remarkably quiet Buyers who keep their cards close to their chest.

Here are some of my recommendations on how to maximize the time you spend at open houses:

If you are a Buyer, use this opportunity to ask questions about the property. Other than the homeowner, no one is as knowledgeable about the property than the listing agent.

Think of each open house as Buying 101. Use every home you walk into as an opportunity to learn about the market, home, neighbourhood, local amenities and schools.

Should you show your emotion? The answer depends on the situation and your motivation. Sharing your excitement and enthusiasm with the listing agent is a great way to stand out on offer day. The dollars always speak at the end of the day, but it is nice to have the listing agent rooting for your bid. On the other side of things, sometimes it’s better to keep your poker face, instead of revealing too much information about yourself, situation and need to buy. You don’t want any informations, including your excitement to be used against you if you put forth an offer.

Keep the marketing material. If you go to enough open houses the details become a bit blurry. Holding on to the marketing material with help paint a picture of the best houses at the end of the day.

For Seller’s, open houses need to be used sparingly. Open Houses are most effective within the first week of exposure. Typically, it is the serious, qualified Buyers who come back to the open house after already viewing the property with their agent earlier in the week.

Open house “by appointment only” is another opportunity for Sellers to market their property. For some properties public open houses are a disadvantage, for example, a small home may feel particularly cramped if multiple Buyer’s walk through at the same time. “By appointment only” pre-qualifies the Buyers in attendance and are always appreciated by busy agents, unable to show the property.

Finally, even if you are not actively in the market, if you find a house that speaks to you and you would like a little more information or want to know the final selling price, reach out, I am always happy to educate and share my opinion.