Posted in: Buying a home

The Do’s and Don’ts of attending an open house

Do's and Dont's of open house

Key insights:

  • The local market is important, but sometimes a fixer-upper home or a house that was listed months ago may have hidden value.
  • Explore properties that you’re interested in, but remember that the home still belongs to someone else.
  • It’s important to discuss the property with the listing agent, but don’t give away too much of your own interest.

Open house season is here! Whether you’re heading to a lakeside home in Wayzata or a hobby farm in Hudson, here are insights you can use as you tour open houses and determine your offer strategy.

Understand local market data

Before you head to open houses, look into the stats for each property you’ll visit, and talk with your REALTOR® about what the price and value may mean in today’s market.

Do consider the listing price as a starting point. Because inventory is tight in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, it may be difficult to purchase a home for less than the listing price. If you are looking in a hot neighborhood, search for homes below your price range to ensure you aren’t priced out if the property goes into multiple offers.

Don’t rule out homes that have been on the market a while. Your natural reaction may be to avoid a rambler that was listed four months ago – after all, wouldn’t it have sold if it were a quality property? However, in a competitive market, opening up your criteria may pay off. These properties may be fixer-uppers or have a few quirks, but if you’re one of a few buyers at an open house in today’s competitive market, you may gain a competitive advantage.

Touch, don’t rummage

When it comes to looking through the home, be sure to thoroughly investigate the property while remaining respectful of the sellers’ privacy.

Do carefully notice the details of the home. While perusing the house, it’s important to dive deeper than surface level. Don’t be afraid to take an extra peek at appliances to determine their conditions or under rugs to spot any flaws in the floors. It’s also a good idea to check out storage nooks like closets and cupboards. And, you might consider bringing a tape measure to make note of the length and width of these spaces, along with different rooms and built-ins.

Don’t leave a trace. Although it’s acceptable to inspect a home, you shouldn’t leave with any alterations made to the property. For example, opening a cupboard to explore the storage dimensions is commonplace. However, digging through cabinets or pulling up carpeting is excessive. You also shouldn’t bring any piece of the home with you, including pictures. If you are seriously considering a house and think that photos or video footage would be helpful in your decision-making process, be sure to ask the listing agent for camera permission in advance. You can always schedule a private showing with your agent if you are serious about the property.

Develop a rapport with the listing agent

Do remain friendly and engaging to the agent in charge of the open house. They have the difficult task of enticing buyers and protecting the property from damage or theft, so they may remain close to you as you tour the home. Take advantage of this time to learn more about the property and the details of its features.

Don’t give away too much information. It’s all right to be vague about your desired home features, price range, neighborhood and more. Any information you divulge to the listing agent or open house agent could be used in negotiations, so it’s best to keep your conversations light but complimentary.

Getting started

Ready to rock open houses like a pro? Get started by searching for upcoming open houses in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Add in your desired area to find the perfect list of open houses to explore this weekend. And, reach out to Edina Realty or one of our agents for additional help.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings