6 Things to Know Before Going to an Open House

6 Things to Know Before Going to an Open House

  • Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith & Tara Earley
  • 11/8/22

Even though open houses may appear pretty informal, savvy buyers are aware that checking out a residence isn't just about the aesthetics but rather an opportunity for them to learn more about the property. There may only be one opportunity to inspect a home before deciding whether or not to buy it in an extremely competitive market. In order to find an ideal place to call your own, take advantage of the open house period and find out whether the home suits your needs.

This works well when you prepare a list of questions for the seller's agent and do some preliminary research before attending the open house. The goal is to leave this process with enough information to make an informed decision.

Here are some of the things you need to know before going to an open house and starting your journey in Santa Fe real estate:

Make a good impression

Putting your best foot forward is essential to making a good first impression. Be courteous when dealing with the seller’s agent, but don't be afraid to ask any questions that pop up as you tour the property.

There following are some etiquette tips that you should follow for every open house:

1. Follow all the set rules
2. Don't come with pets or children
3. Do mention problem areas to the agent
4. It is crucial to introduce yourself and sign in
5. Do not crowd other prospective buyers

Go with your instincts

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. In the basement, rely on your sense of smell and intuition to guide you. The place might not be suitable if you notice anything that looks or feels off, such as water stains or a musty odor. Do not be afraid to ask for or request a copy of the home inspection report if it has already been completed. Finally, don't hesitate to ask your Santa Fe real estate agent for additional information about the property so you can make an informed decision later on.

Know what to check

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During the interior inspection, pay attention to things like water stains, uneven floors, cracks in the walls or ceiling, and mold. You should check the exterior for damage to the walls or missing tiles on the roof. Before making any decisions, you need to consider how these repairs will affect your budget.

Be armed with the right questions

An open house is not just a casual gathering for potential buyers, real estate agents, and sellers. It is instead an opportunity to "kick the tires," so you should ask any question to get the information you could not obtain from the listing.

It will help if you prepare as many questions as possible because you can quickly get answers in the open house. The following are some aspects you should ask about:

  • The number of offers the seller has received
  • The quality of local schools
  • The reason for selling
  • The duration the property has been in the market
  • The history of the house 
  • Utilities cost
  • The level of motivation the seller has to sell the property
  • The noise level in the neighborhood

Benefits of an open house for buyers

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An open house is more than just a mundane step. It has several significant advantages for the buyers, such as:

  • You don't need a scheduled tour: Unlike a private viewing, in an open house, you don't need to set an appointment to see the home. All you need is to show up during the open house hours and view it at your own pace.

  • You will get updated on the current home values: Finding out how much the area's homes are selling for and how much you can afford can be helpful when you're just beginning your search.

  • Scope out the competition: A visit to an open house can give you a sense of how much interest there is in the property from other potential buyers. This can be helpful when figuring out how quickly and how much of an offer you should submit.

  • It can help you redefine your non-negotiable home features: Visiting homes in person can help you rethink your list of “must-haves.” This includes things such as whether you really need an extra room.

The red flags to watch out for when you attend an open house

There are several things you should watch out for during the open house that will help determine whether the home is perfectly staged and not as flawless as it may appear. Some signs are:

Lots of fragrance

Cleaning products, Febreze, and other air fresheners may be used to mask the smell of cigarette smoke, pet accidents, mold, or mildew.

Check out the surfaces under your feet as you make your way from room to room. Does the carpet have any stains that could be the result of a pet accident? Ensure the walls and ceilings are free of any stains or discoloration that a smoker or a leaky roof could cause.

Several homes are on sale in the neighborhood

If you notice several Santa Fe homes for sale in that area, it's time to put on your detective cap to figure out the cause. One of the reasons could be because something is wrong in the area. For example, owners may be concerned about the increased traffic and construction noise that will accompany a new development in the near future.

Signs of neglect

The moment you walk in and notice paint peeling, the faucet leaking, or the weeds sprouting in the garden bed, this should tell you the owner was not taking good care of the home. If the owner didn't bother about such small things, it means they may not have addressed bigger issues, either. For example, an old plumbing system or a leaking roof could indicate more serious problems with the property.

Too many recent renovations

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Buyers may be drawn to a house that has been recently renovated, such as one that has a new kitchen or bathroom. In order to make their home more marketable as quickly as possible, some homeowners may cut corners or hire a budget contractor. It's essential to monitor these renovations. A shoddy job will haunt you after you move in, even if it looks great during the open house.

Before making an offer on a home, you should hire a home inspector or structural engineer to inspect the property thoroughly; they'll be able to assess whether the work has been done incorrectly.

Unfinished construction

You have arrived at your dream home, only to discover that the "finished basement" is still a work in progress. For instance, maybe there are exposed wires in the ceiling despite the drywall still being piled up in the corner.

Seeing some construction works that have been left incomplete is a red flag that should never be ignored. The seller may have run out of money, or the contractor may have encountered structural issues they didn't want to deal with. If an open house was held before the work was finished, you need to figure out why the seller made that choice.

Remember that banks may have a difficult time lending money to a home that is still under construction. Ask your bank first if they will approve your mortgage before submitting an offer on the house in this price bracket.

Remember to also consider your personal financial situation thoroughly before deciding whether or not to hire an outside contractor or complete the project yourself.

Are you in the search for your dream home?

Buying a home is one of the greatest achievements in life. The process of buying or selling a home is not just a walk in the park, though. It requires a lot of know-how and the guidance of a real estate expert. Why would you struggle to look for your dream home when Ricky Allen & Cathy Griffith Real Estate has you covered? Ricky and Cathy value their client's satisfaction and strive to reach success in each transaction. The team will work tirelessly and negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible deal on Santa Fe homes for sale. So before you head out to that open house, give Ricky and Cathy a call.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels

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