Attending a luxury home open house is a good way to find a house that fits your needs and to gather ideas for remodeling, decorating and landscaping. While an open house for an expensive home or estate is typically very similar to one held for a property in any price range, there are some subtle differences. Here are tips for getting the most out of visiting any open house, but for a luxury home open house in particular.
1. Prepare Your Checklist
Attending an open house productively requires preparation. After you’ve set a purchase budget and scheduled when you need to buy, move, etc., complete a checklist that tags each feature of your potential new home as either:
- Must have
- May have
- Must not have
Your checklist can be modified as you research available properties and gather more information.
2. Preview Online
Most advertisements for homes holding an open house are published online, whether the home is listed in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or just on the listing broker’s web site. The listing will usually provide enough information to assess whether or not it meets your selection criteria. Caution: even expensive homes can be victims of bad photography. Grainy, out of focus and generally poor photographs can either hide faults in a property or fail to accurately depict its fine features. If a property meets most of your selection criteria, it’s better to leave it on your open house attendance list rather than risk missing a gem because of bad photos.
3. Ask Your Broker For More Information
Brokers can obtain information not included in the home’s marketing materials, either by asking the listing broker the right questions, viewing the broker-only comments section in the MLS listing, or researching public records.
4. Bring Tools
Collecting information about a property for further consideration later takes more than picking up a flier at the open house. You may want to make notes, take photos of unique or important features, and even measure spaces (see: Essential House Hunting Tools: Measuring Devices). Assemble a bag containing all your house hunting tools and be sure to have them with you each time you embark on an open house adventure.
5. Bring Your Broker
It is not unusual for listing brokers to require that your broker accompany you on a luxury home open house. If you’re not working with a broker at the time, they may either refer you to an agent in their office or offer to represent you and the seller at the same time, creating a situation referred to as dual agency. For more information on the potential problems with dual agency, see my article Listing Agents vs. Selling Agents.
A few final considerations for attending a luxury home open house…
It is common for listing brokers to require reservations for an open house held at an estate home. Further, obtaining a reservation may require that attendees provide written proof of their financial ability to purchase the home prior to confirmation of the open house reservation.
As fun and interesting as attending an open house can be, sometimes you may NOT want to wait for an open house to view a property that fits your needs. Most luxury properties are shown only at an open house, but if an earlier appointment or lock box entry with your broker is possible, you may want to consider getting in before competing buyers. Many homes have offers accepted one or two days prior to an open house.
If you can’t get into a home until the open house, get there early. A home that is in demand will often receive offers by the end of the first day an open house is held.
Questions about attending a luxury home open house? Need help with your next purchase? Drop me a line… Contact Us.