Welcome to Open House Anywhere. Enjoy it and use it to your advantage.
Every Sunday about 100,000 real estate agents post ads, place signs, and offer tours of homes all over the country. You are wise to explore these houses. The owner who opens his home to you is saying "Take a look, I have nothing to hide." But, visiting an open house is more than an opportunity to view and inspect homes. It is an opportunity for you to interview and evaluate potential agents. Think of an Open House as an opportunity to interview your potential employee. Is she (or he) sincere? Well versed in the market? Finance literate? A hardball negotiator? This is your chance to find out, with complete control. If you are not impressed - just drive away. No harm, no foul. On the other hand, if you visit enough open house events, you will ultimately meet an agent with whom you can genuinely relate. This is the agent who will listen to you, protect your interests, and deliver more than promised. You are visiting houses, but you are meeting professionals. We cannot overstate the importance of this.
Many open house visitors will not purchase a home in the next six months. They may be taking the temperature of the market, gathering information, and beginning the process of searching for a new home. Some are wondering if they should try to sell their current home. A few have decided to build or remodel and are looking for ideas and inspiration. Others are checking out neighborhoods. Know what? ALL OF THAT IS OK. In fact, it is smart. Hosting agents agree.
Navigating Open House Anywhere will help you find the right agent and a beautiful home. Consider the questions below for your next “interview.”
Evaluating your Open House host.
If you need to sell a house before or concurrently with selling your exiting home, you are looking for a good listing agent. These ideas will help you find a competent agent.
1. Ask why the seller is selling the house. Unless the agent has the owner's permission to tell you, he should duck the question. Respect that. After all, if you hire this agent to sell your home, you may want your motives for selling to remain confidential. Suppose you have been transferred, or have an illness in the family. Buyers may take advantage of this knowledge to negotiate a lower price.
2. Ask what price the seller is willing to take. The ONLY price the agent is authorized to quote is the list price. The agent who abandons that obligation to his seller will likely abandon you. If you persist, the agent may invite you to place an offer. That is the response of a professional.
3. Seek handout literature. The quality of that material is a good indicator of the quality that will be provided to your potential buyers if you list your home with this agent.
4. Good agents will follow up with phone calls and "thank you" cards to their open house visitors. That means that a good agent will ask for your name and phone number. Do not volunteer this information- you want to see if the agent asks for it. You'll want to list your home with an agent who follows up.
5. Reflect carefully on the way the home is shown to you. A competent and experienced agent will allow you some space to look for yourselves, without getting too far away. There are sometimes thefts at open house events. Thefts usually happen when a visiting couple splits up to "see" different rooms. An experienced agent will try politely to keep couples together and within sight. Do not take offense at being watched.
6. An experienced agent will take the time to point out the certain features of the home. You are looking for a good salesperson, and do not be put off if the agent tries to sell the house to you. A competent agent may ask if you would like to schedule a private showing or place an offer. Unless you feel pushed or pressured, this is a sign of a competent salesperson.
If you are looking to buy a home, try these tips for a glimpse into whether or not this is the agent for you.
1. Ask the agent about their experience, and note the reaction. There is no disadvantage in working with an agent who is new in the business; they are sometimes the hardest working of all. However, you might be wary of an inexperienced agent who attempts to hide from the question. The agent who answers "This is my first listing, and I have a lot of time to spend looking for the right house for you" has hit a home run in our book. Similarly, be wary of the experienced agent who "knows it all." You can trust us on this: no one knows it all.
2. Ask about the agent's knowledge of your target area. If you already know a little about the school zones, average prices and number of homes on the market, you can ask intelligent questions and evaluate the agent's answers.
3. Ask for references. Competent agents are delighted to provide them.
4. Try this question: "As a rule, how much below list price should we offer on any house." There is no correct answer to this question. If a house is underpriced, you might want to offer full price. Overpriced homes, as may be indicated by a lengthy marketing time, require individual evaluation and a competent agent will probably just say "it depends on the house."
5. Ask if the agent is able to show you homes today, after the open house. You may not want to go house shopping, but you would like to know if the agent is willing to drop everything to help you. If the agent says "Sure, let's go!," you might have found your agent.
We hope these ideas help you find the right agent. Also, we welcome tips from our site visitors. Use the "Contact Us" tool to send us your best idea. Every month we will pick our favorite, post it on the site, and send you $100.