Best Insight into Attending Open Houses

Posted by Steph Kaye on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 at 4:23pm.

We're always looking to find you something insightful and applicable to your real estate lifestyle. We found this blog that offers up some super tips on how to manage an Open House - from the attendee's point of view. Please enjoy! 


The Frugalwoods Top 12 Open House Tips (and some FAQs thrown in for good measure)

1) What is an open house?

An open house is an opportunity to walk through a house that’s for sale without the need to bring along a realtor. If you want to schedule an appointment to view a house on your own schedule, you’ll need to work with a realtor. But for open houses, you can go solo. The listing agent, also known as the seller’s realtor, will be the person hosting the open house, not the home owners (unless the house is for sale by owner).

2) How do I find open houses?

Open houses are listed online in a number of different venues, which vary by region. Here in Cambridge we use Redfin, which we highly recommend if it’s available in your area. If Redfin isn’t in your city, is another source for open houses. You can also pop into an open house you happen to see a sign for on the street.

3) Don’t be embarrassed.

I’ll admit that Mr. Frugalwoods and I go through life truly not caring what others think and honestly, we’re much happier and less stressed because of it. But in this specific scenario, it simply doesn’t matter what some random realtor thinks of you.

I often hear from friends that they’re reticent to enter an open house because they’re afraid they’ll be judged as not wealthy enough, not a serious enough buyer, or not savvy enough about house buying–to which I say, so what if you’re not?! The only way you’re going to learn is by dipping a toe in and not worrying.

4) Remember, it’s the realtor’s job to show the house.


The very goal of an open house is to generate foot traffic for the property. Most of the people at open houses won’t ever put in an offer on the property. The listing agent knows this and they’ll focus their time on prospective buyers who show up with a realtor in tow–they know those are the actual serious buyers.

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If the listing agent and sellers didn’t want people tromping through the house, they wouldn’t hold an open house. Open houses are not a requirement for sellers, they’re an option. You’re actually doing the listing agent a favor by showing up. After all, they want to prove to the sellers that they had lots of people checking out their abode.

5) Comply with the sign-in sheet.

The listing agent will likely ask you to write your name on their sign-in sheet, which is their way of showing the sellers that people came to the open house. Again, the raison d’être of an open house is to get maximum eyeballs on the property. We always sign in because it’s the polite thing to do. Our trick? Omit your phone number and email address.

6) Feel free to ask questions of the listing agent.

We frequently have a few questions and the listing agent is usually happy to answer them. Sometimes we’ll chat with an agent for quite awhile. Other times, we don’t even see them because they’re busy with other prospective buyers. Don’t be afraid to show your naivete in asking questions. After all, this is an expert who can offer you some insight into real estate in your area, so take advantage of the free advice!

A few of our favorite questions:

  • If we’re looking at a condo, we like to ask about the HOA (home owners association) fee, what the association’s reserves are, and any upcoming assessments.
  • If the unit or home is currently rented, we always ask what price it’s rented for.
  • I like asking how old the roof is. Because, why not?

7) OMG, the listing agent asked me a question!!!

Don’t panic :). If the listing agent asks how long you’ve been looking, you might say what Mr. FW and I say: “we’re always looking at real estate in the area.” This is entirely true. If we see a fine looking opportunity, we’ll buy it!

8) But seriously, am I allowed in an open house?

As long as you’re a human asking this question (and not a greyhound), the answer is yes. Anyone is allowed to attend an open house–there’s no rule or law that you need to be actively interested in buying that particular home.


9) Follow house rules.

Pursuant to #8, we never take Frugal Hound into an open house and we always follow whatever rules the listing agent requests. For example, many places ask that you remove your shoes before walking through the house, so, we remove our shoes. No biggie.

Pro tip: wear slip-on shoes and always make sure you’ve got socks on!

10) Take a listing sheet.

Those handy-dandy sheets containing photos of the house, specs, and the asking price are there for your perusal and enjoyment! Take one and read through it. Ask the listing agent any clarifying questions you have and feel free to take notes. Then…

11) Discuss the house later that day.

If you’re buying a house with someone else, sit down together and have a frank conversation about the houses you visited. Discuss likes, dislikes, prices, neighborhood preferences, and everything else you consider important in your future home. Treating each open house like a case study will build your house buying muscles and transform you into a house buying hulk. There’s no such thing as learning too much!

12) Have fun!

I cannot stress this enough. Researching houses and real estate doesn’t have to be an arduous, painful process. Enjoy waltzing around other people’s homes and relish all the knowledge you’re gaining! Nothing will prepare you to buy your own place like visiting a ton of available homes.

Thanks for reading! Lang Premier Properties


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