Tips For Attending A Luxury Home Open House

Mar 15, 2024

Attending a luxury home open house is a good way to find a home that fits your needs and to gather ideas for remodeling, decorating and landscaping. Open houses held in luxury homes and estates, homes typically selling for $3M and up in most areas, are usually similar compared to those hosted for homes priced lower, but there can be a few 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
  • Like to 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 only on the listing broker’s web site. The listing will usually provide enough information to assess whether or not the property 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 finest features. If a property meets most of your selection criteria, it’s better to leave it on your open house 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 your house hunting tools and 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 written proof of financial ability to purchase the home prior to confirmation of the open house reservation. Proof of financial capacity is most often required for homes priced $10M or higher, though the requirement could be imposed for any home.

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 view the property 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.

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