This post will be colloquial. It has to be. Just like during an open house, where interaction with its host becomes key to a fulfilling experience, and possibly to achieving your dream: your perfect home is only a few steps away. When you walk through, you should engage in a conversation with the agent at hand. And this is why.
So, you have been scouting for your new house with your agent. Or perhaps you just decided to buy your first home, you do not have an agent and you do not know exactly where to start. Or you are visiting town from out of state, caressing the idea to move (Grand Rapids is a perfect place to be, by the way!) In any case, open houses seem a perfect way to spend a few hours during the weekend to acquire further knowledge and experience.
Before you walk through that door, please know that you are the guest(s) and all of the agent’s attention is geared towards your needs. Agents holding open houses are there to help you, and to answer all questions you may have.
Different agents have different styles and ways of hosting the event. Personally, whether a host of my own listing or that of a colleague, I typically welcome you, introduce myself, ask for your name(s), and offer some materials, such as the listing card, and my business card. If extra information is available (i.e. a land survey, an addendum, or the seller’s disclosure,) I point it out. Then I leave you free to visit the property – thoroughly as you please – and to make your own comments and evaluations. You’ll find all lights on for best appreciation, and intrinsically to reveal that the electrical is in perfect shape; and sometimes you’ll hear music in the background, when a sound system is available. Do you like jazz? 😊 At the end of your tour, or anytime during it if you so wish, I listen to you, talk to you, and share the ins-and-outs.
Interacting with the agent is one of the best ways to learn more about the house you are visiting, and other similar available opportunities, such as properties not yet on the market. It is alright to clarify that you are already working with an agent if you have one. If so, share the name of your agent. Why? It will facilitate communications in the future. For example… you may love the property but perhaps you feel afraid that a multiple-offer situation would drive the price up. But what if the property goes unsold, for whatever reason, and the seller decides to lower its price? In this case, a diligent listing agent will immediately call your agent and share the news. In short, you will have first dibs, and a chance to buy your dream home at the right price. Simply because you left your agent’s name at the open house.
In case you are not represented by an agent, you will have the opportunity to interact with one, and possibly vet him/her if you later decide to use some help. Case in point. In 2017 I was hosting an open house for one of my listings (pictured here) in the Baxter neighborhood of Grand Rapids, when a young couple came through. They were qualified, unrepresented buyers – in other words, pre-approved and without an agent. They engaged in a friendly conversation on a variety of topics. It was so pleasant that we connected instantaneously. The following day we went out for a slice pizza and a chat on their real estate needs and dreams, I started working for them, and a week later we had an accepted offer. Market conditions then were overwhelmingly favoring sellers, thus making multiple offers above asking price the norm. Yet, with some attention to details, persistence, and a back-up offer, we were able to secure their dream home, at the right price, and especially within their budget! Recently, I visited these clients – I was privileged to be invited for dinner – and witnessed first-hand what a paradise is now their new home, furnished with exquisite taste and touches of their love and enthusiasm everywhere. Just because of an open house and a chat.
For those who love statistics: This weekend – June 9-10, 2018 – in Kent County there are 231 Open Houses (GRAR, June 9, 2018.) Of these, 89 are in the City of Grand Rapids, 14 in the City of Kentwood, 13 in the City of Wyoming, 11 in Caledonia Township, 7 in the City of East Grand Rapids, and 3 in the City of Grandville.
Time to give Open Houses a try.
Happy House Hunting!