Tips for Buyers to Optimize their Open House Tour Day

Touring open houses is the most exciting and engaging activity for home buyers when they are purchasing a home.  As an agent, working with home buyers during open house days is one of my favorite activities.  Buyers love driving around neighborhoods, checking out homes and then visualizing themselves living in those houses.   “We can put our bed there” or “you can use this room as your man cave” are just snippets of the dialogue I will hear when buyers are walking through a potential home they want to make an offer on.

The scenario is this: it’s Saturday or Sunday, you and your agent have selected 3 or more homes that you want to see, and you packed the family in the SUV with your tails wagging.    In the back of your head you already know which ones you like because you’ve looked at the photos online at least twice now.  Meanwhile, the agent has been working behind the scenes to set up the tour and make sure you’re seeing the homes you want and also make sure they are within reach of what you can afford.  Sound familiar?

After dedicating my weekends to helping buyers, I have some useful tips if you’re a buyer who is about to embark on a few open house tours.   I can offer a few tips for making sure you optimize your open house tour day:

1.   Bring your phone!

This may  seem like a no brainer, but I cannot stress it enough.  It is essential that you have a working phone that can easily access your emails,  internet and communicate with your Realtor. More importantly, if you’re a potential buyer, you should use your phone to take pictures and videos of the houses you like.   Share those pictures with other family members who couldn’t go with you to the open house and use those pictures to help you decide if you want to make an offer.  Pictures and videos can also help you visualize where you’ll put your furniture or set up the layout that works for you.

Also, you will need your phone for Waze or another navigation app in the event you get separated from your Realtor.

2.   Have patience.

One of the agents could be running late or the open house is crowded so you have to wait.  Whatever the scenario,  you’ll need to have some patience to weather through the day successfully.  See recommendation number 1 above to help pass any dead time between open houses.  This day is awesome and emotionally engaging so pace yourself. You will also need to have patience if you decide to submit an offer on one of the houses.  Sellers can take up to three days to respond to buyers and their offers.

3. Ask stupid questions.

When you’re at the house, you’ll have ideas and questions pop into your mind.  Don’t hold back.   You should ask those questions to the Realtor or the owner right then and there.  If the homeowners are present during the open house, ask about the neighbors or the schools.  Use the open house period as an opportunity to gather as much information as possible that you can’t get online.

4.  Use the bathroom at the houses.

So you don’t have to stop at McDonalds or Starbucks.

5.  Drive separately from your Realtor.

Introduce yourself to the owners and agents!

As a Realtor, I want buyers to have personal have time with their family to discuss the property that they just visited.  These conversations between the buyers right after the open house are critical to formulating your collective opinion and decide if you want to make an offer or have additional questions for your agent.  Buyers are often reluctant to express their opinion of a property or the Realtor is talking the whole time so they haven’t had a moment to collect their thoughts.  Come to your own conclusions about the house since you’ll be the one living there.

6.  Bring a tape measure.

As a Realtor, you will be surprised how often buyers will ask if  I have a tape measure in my car.  Buyers want to know if, for example, their king bed will fit in the master bedroom.  Bring a tape measure to help you decide your furniture arrangement.   It won’t be awkward. In fact, it makes you look more interested in the property.

7.   Introduce yourself to the selling Realtor or owners.

Yes, you want to shake hands with these people. It helps put a face to your offer if you decide to make one.  If you don’t formally introduce yourself at the open house, then submit a cover letter with your offer.  I would advise using a service called Nestingup to help you establish that personal connection with the sellers.

Have a great weekend touring homes, folks!

Evan Haug
Broker- Haus California
CalBRE: 01891733
(714) 614-3407