What to Expect at an Open House

As a first time home buyer, you are likely to encounter numerous first-time experiences. The process of buying your first home can be exhilarating and daunting all at the same time. During this process you may work with a real estate agent who will make appointments for you to view various homes for sale in the area that meet your needs. You may also have the opportunity to attend open houses. If you have never attended an open house, you may not know what to expect.

An open house provides multiple prospective buyers with the opportunity to view a property that is for sale during a window of time on a specified date. For example, an open house might be held from 2pm to 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. During that time real estate agents and buyers are encouraged to tour the home. The sellers may or may not be present during the open house.

When you first arrive you will likely be greeted by a real estate agent and asked to sign in. This will allow the agent to follow-up with you later regarding your interest in the home. Make sure to include the name and number of the real estate agent with whom you are working so that your agent is kept in the loop regarding any interest you may have in the home. In many cases, you may also be provided with a flyer or brochure that details information about the home. Many real estate agents conduct tours of the home to new arrivals, while others encourage interested buyers to wander through the home and inspect it.

Refreshments are sometimes but not always provided at an open house as way to encourage buyers to feel at home and mingle while they are there. Generally, there will be a real estate agent present who will be able to answer questions you may have, but you should not expect to have the agent's undivided attention.

Do not be afraid to poke about, open closet doors and ask questions. Even if there are others present, including the sellers, you should take full advantage of the opportunity to find out as much as possible about the property. Purchasing a home is a big decision and an even bigger investment, so take full advantage.

If there are several open houses being held on the same day in the area where you are looking to buy, you may find it helpful to carefully schedule your outings that day so that you can take advantage of the opportunity to attend as many as possible and find out what is available in the area before making a decision.

With that said; however, you should be prepared for the fact that there are often several prospective buyers who attend an open house and if the property is highly sought after more than one offer may be submitted on the property on the day of the open house. As a result, if you are interested in the property you should not delay in making an offer or you may find that it already has a contract on it by the time you get around to submitting an offer.

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