Open houses are a staple in real estate marketing, and right now — the middle of summer — is prime season for them.
Open houses are intriguing. On the one hand, they can be a fun and interesting way to spend an afternoon. It’s quite common for an open house to attract more neighbors than real buyers, so they can be all kinds of frustrating, too.
Whether you are attending open houses as a buyer, or hosting one as a seller, you need to look at it for what it is: a free sample. Just like a free sample in the supermarket, open houses give potential buyers a glimpse into the possibilities that this particular home affords. Open houses allow buyers to really imagine what it might be like to live in this particular house.
As you attend open houses, think about how your lifestyle meshes with the home that’s being presented. What do you do when you wake up? What’s your routine for getting out the door in the morning, and what is it when you return at night? How are your weekends different? How and when do you read, watch television, or play? Open houses let you imagine how those routines will play out in this particular house, so take your time, and really imagine how this particular home fits your lifestyle.
Before you go to open houses, however, be honest with yourself about why you’re going. It will have a fundamental difference on the success of the trip. Are you seriously looking to make a move, and are looking for a new home? Are you trying to decide if a move is even feasible? Are you scoping out an agent you might want to hire, or a neighborhood you might choose? Are you looking for decorating or remodeling ideas? Do you just want to see how the owners live? The key is to be honest with yourself.
So what’s next? Take your pick.
Yeah. You should probably do at least one of those things right now.