An open house, or home open, gives prospective buyers the opportunity to look around a property and assess how it meets their needs.

But as a buyer, what exactly should you do at an open house?

Here’s 3 things you can do to get more out of open houses:

1. Take notes

Don’t rely on your memory alone – once you’ve viewed several properties, they will all blur together in your mind.

Instead, take note of key features of the property, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the roof and wall construction and, of course, the asking price.

In addition, bring along a digital camera (or use your mobile phone), to take photos of key features, including things you really like or dislike – this is especially useful if you want to show the home to a partner who didn’t come along the the open house.

When you’re finished looking at homes for the day, you can review what you’ve seen and use your notes to help you make an informed decision about which homes you’re really interested in.

2. Remember the property

Don’t let your notes become jumbled and confusing – keep track of which property is which as you visit each open house!

Here’s my top tips for remembering open houses:

  • Make a point of remembering the colour of the carpets or floor coverings – if you recall that one detail the whole home will come back to you,
  • Take a photo of the letterbox and the front of the home as you walk in – this will help you keep track of home is which, and
  • If you’re going to a lot of open houses, buy the Home Tracker iPhone app – it lets you gather all your notes and photos in one place for reviewing later.

3. Meet the agent

Real estate agents are your key to discovering great properties – develop a solid rapport with agents at home opens, and they may contact you later with the perfect home for you!

I recommend you:

  • Be polite and friendly with the agent at the open house,
  • Strike up a conversation – let them know what exactly you’re looking for in a home, and
  • Give them your contact details, if they ask for them.

By getting familiar with the real estate agents and keeping track of what you see at open houses, you can make an informed decision and maximise the chance of finding your ideal home.

Image by Cathy via Flickr.

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About the Author

Peter Fletcher

Peter began his real estate career in 1985 selling tin shacks and red dirt in Kalgoorlie. Moving to Perth in 1989 he quickly moved into agency ownership. By 2006, Peter had built a thriving agency managing over 600 rental properties. He then sold the business, taking time out of the industry to complete Honours in a Bachelor of Arts. Peter is now the Managing Director of Residential Settlements in Burswood and an active Army reservist. Peter has had just one hot shower since the 10th of May 2008.