It’s Open House Season! 

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Real Estate

The Spring real estate market is upon us and attending open houses can be a great way to jumpstart a househunting journey, giving homebuyers a solid representation of what’s generally available at a certain price point in a specific community.

Here are some tips that will help you make the most of the weekend hours you invest:

Shoes:  You will likely be asked to either wear shoe covers provided by the host or remove your shoes. For efficient “come and go”, wear a pair of comfortable slip-on shoes and some dark colored socks. Keep boots in your car for exploring the grounds.  

Coat:  If you can get away with leaving your coat (and bags) locked in the car, you’ll be more comfortable walking through the house, especially if it’s warm inside and there are a lot of other guests.  

Small Children: Visiting open houses with small children can be stressful, especially if they are excited. It’s often very difficult for children to understand that they cannot touch the homeowners' belongings, play with toys on the property, or sit on the owners' furniture - and this may make the Realtor host, who is responsible for the property, fairly anxious or stern. Leaving children with a sitter is the best advice, but if that’s not possible, consider trading off with the children in the yard or car while the free adult tours the property.  

Bathrooms: Plan ahead! The homeowner likely will not allow guests to use their facilities. If you need to stop along the way, find a nearby restaurant or service station.

Surveillance:  Alexa, Ring and a host of other home monitoring devices are more common every year. There should be some disclosure made if you are being filmed or recorded, but it may be smaller print than you’d be looking for. Save any criticisms for the car ride home, and be mindful of your body language.  

Ask First: Want to take a peek in the closets, cabinets, sheds, or attic to check out the space? Just ask the host, first. (Bureaus, furniture cabinets, and drawers are off-limits.) This is also true for photos and videos … ask for permission before you capture.    

Bring Your Agent: If the house seems like a strong candidate for you, bring your own agent with you. If you must go solo, sign in with your agent’s name listed next to yours. If you are touring new construction, it may be critical that your agent attend the first visit with you.   

Focus: When the open house is well attended, and distractions abound ... focusing can be a challenge. Study the MLS listing in advance of your visit, and make a list of the areas that you really want to get a look at. Consider using my Open House checklist to help you keep track of the homes’ attributes or making your own may help you stay focussed on what is most important to YOU. 

In addition  .... go to my website's home page ...hover over the Open Houses tab and click on any or all of the 10 cities/towns that will display properties that are holding an Open House in real time!

Talking to the Host: Remember that the host is likely the listing agent, and they represent the seller. So you don’t want to start divulging personal details that may affect your negotiating position. If you have questions about the property or the owner’s circumstances, it’s best to ask these questions through your agent. That said, it may prove helpful to make a positive first impression on the seller’s agent - so - be sure to follow any specific instructions they give you and do your best to maintain a positive and kind manner during your visit.

Arrive and Leave On Time: The homeowner may need to get back inside their home, and/or the host may have another commitment to get to. Arrive with enough time to walk through the property. If the open house ends at 2:00 pm, don’t pull into the driveway at 1:55 pm. It’s also not cool to hang out in the yard after the open house hours end, so give yourself enough time to see all you want to see and be off the property before the host locks up.  

Scope Out the Neighborhood: You may get dialed into the house and forget to check out the neighbors and neighborhood.  Look for things that may add to or detract from your quality of life - sidewalks, ambient noise near major routes, conservation areas, inconsistent property uses, and more.

With a good game plan and these tips in mind, you’ll make the most of your open house visits! If you’re ready for more personalized assistance with your homebuying mission, let’s chat about how my 40+ years of local, residential real estate success can work for you!  You can always reach me at 508-330-3252 or

Happy Househunting!