I don’t often read the Real Estate Section of the local newspaper in New Orleans and I suppose I should but I don’t. Today I happened to be home and had the opportunity to take a look. The article on the front page is “12 Open House Tips for 2012”. There are inaccuracies and important points left out and I disagree with some of the advice offered. I must assume that the writer is not an agent but may be wrong on that point. The article was not available on their website otherwise I would linked to it.
1. Map out your day..I agree that this is a good idea so that you are not wasting time. Checking the locations and the times means that you will be able to see more property’s in the times allotted. However this article then suggests a “divide and conquer” approach where the Open Houses are divided between partners and then each property is discussed at the end of the day. Buying a home is not a marathon and there is no race. Would it not be better to make an appointment with a buyer’s agent and go to each house taking whatever time you need to view it? Viewing it together so you can point things out and chat as you go seems a better approach to me.
2. Take notes and photos…the author states that most people now have a camera on their phone and can take pictures to supplement what is on the MLS. Maybe I am old school however since when is it okay to go into someone’s home and take pictures of their stuff? Someone that the owner doesn’t know, coming in from the street, taking pictures without permission? In this day and age and in this city? Whoa I don’t think so….
3. Talk to the agent….again a lot has been left out. “The agent is really there to assist the buyer” an agent is quoted as saying leaving out that the agent works for and represents the seller. Small chat about your circumstances can be used against you in a negotiation. Chatting with the agent is probably not a great idea as according to Agency laws that agent can’t tell you certain things nor can they answer all of your questions. They are representing the seller and not representing you….careful what you say.
4. Ask for a disclosure statement, what he means is a Property Condition Form… Asking for a Property Condition Form at an Open House is a bit out of context. Seeing the house, liking the house, reviewing the comparables and then discussing all of that coupled with a disclosure statement and a Property Condition Form with your buyer’s agent, asking the pertinent questions of someone who is looking out for your best interests is a better tactic. A disclosure statement and a Property Condition Form needs to be reviewed and not by the agent representing the seller.
5. Walking through the space – I agree with #5. It is important for buyers to walk through a house and feel the space, see the layout and get a feeling for the property…
6. Imagine the Space with Your Things….gee, I don’t how any buyer can really do that at an Open House between all of the other people walking around and the agent answering questions and having to take pictures. However if you go to preview the house with your buyer’s agent you can take your time and spend some time by yourselves discussing this.
7. Bring a tape measure….record the size of the rooms. This one is a bit dumb. If you start to measure a house at an open house you tip your hand that you like the house and not only will the listing agent take note but so will all other buyers walking through…
8. Be Open to Something DIfferent….again a good idea.
9. Walk around the Outside….again a good idea but only if you have any interest in the house otherwise who cares!
10. Get a Floor Plan….again this is a good idea but not necessary at the Open House. Your buyers agent can get the floor plan for you if have any interest in the property AND can discuss it freely with you because they represent your interests.
11. Drive Around the Neighborhood….this is also a good idea but I would add google the address and check out what pops up, crime maps and sexual predator sites as well. Go past page one on Google and dig around. You will be amazed at what you might find because it is not just you might discover on your drive.
12. Schedule an Appointment to go Back…he suggests the Open House is the perfect time to schedule a reshowing. He means schedule it with the agent that represents the seller and give up your right to being represented in the transaction? Again, not a great idea. Buying a house is not like buying a pair of shoes. When you buy a pair of shoes you don’t need to be represented, you try them on and if they fit you either buy them or not. A house is a big expensive life altering purchase and requires representation.
Originally published: New Orleans Real Estate Talk