While shopping for houses, the best way to learn more about the property is to attend an open house. Open houses allow the public to come in and take an up close look at a house that is for sale.
In the East Bay open houses are often held on Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm but check the listing to be sure.

When you arrive at an open house there’s no need to knock. The door should be open, feel free to step inside and look around. There should be an agent on hand that can help you answer questions.
Usually the listing agent holds the first open house. Afterwards, listing agents will find another agent looking to meet buyers like you and generate more business. So if you like the agent and they have been helpful don’t hesitate to ask for representation! An agent representing a buyer splits the commission paid by the seller, which means that being represented by a buyer’s agent is free.

If interested in the home and considering submitting an offer there are a few things you should be sure to ask:

Have inspectors seen the house? How much are the repairs in the termite and engineering report going to cost?

Issues with an aging foundation or a rotting deck can be very costly and need to be factored in when making the decision to submit an offer.

How long has the property been on the market?

This can help you gauge the demand for the property at its current listing price. A house that has been on the market for 60 days is often overpriced or has something very wrong with it. Do the research and find out for yourself but if a price looks too good to be true it probably is.

Never assume that just because an open house is busy that there will be a lot of competition for the property. There are many buyers who have been frequenting open houses every Sunday for years and haven’t submitted a single offer. Often the entire neighborhood will come to an open house with no intention to buy just to compare the home with their own and to get an idea of how much their house is worth.

When are you taking offers?

You wouldn’t want to miss out on a chance to buy the house of your dreams because you didn’t show up on time!

Is all construction legal? Do you have permits to verify this?

Sometimes homeowners will go ahead with construction of an addition without clearing it with the city. You don’t want to get saddled with the cost of tearing down a piece of your newly purchased house.

What’s the neighborhood like? Where are the closest supermarkets and shopping areas? How are the schools?

A good agent should be able to give you information on all of these important factors. Make sure to find out who it is exactly that you’re speaking to, the sellers agent may be comfortable telling you exactly what you want to hear in order to sell the house faster.

And always, always verify these facts for yourself. If truly interested in the house, go down to city hall and pull the permits for yourself. Interview and hire inspectors who you trust to look through the house and tell you what’s wrong rather than relying on the seller’s reports.

Doing the research and going the extra mile costs a bit more and takes precious time; however, this time pails in comparison to the hassle involved if things do go wrong.

This guide to going to open houses should give you a strong start. A licensed real estate agent will be able to help you with all of these things, and is free to you as the buyer. Find one you trust and make them earn their money!

Good luck searching for your home!

Top Blogs