Most future home buyers attend open houses to see what's available in the area. But should you attend open houses even if you aren't ready to start shopping for a new home? The answer might be 'yes'. And here are a few reasons why.
1. Meet Real Estate Agents
A good real estate agent is your most valuable ally when it comes time to actually shop for and buy a home. By attending their open houses, you can see them in action, meet them, and learn how they handle different situations. This is a good way to vet potential agents you may already be considering.
2. Learn the Market
Perusing homes before you're ready to commit gives you an opportunity to get to know the local market without pressure. You can check out homes that are listed short-term and those that have been on the market for a while. You'll compare neighborhoods and amenities. And you'll be able to gauge the actual work you might be looking at if you opt for a 'fixer-upper'.
3. Set a Budget
Your home purchase budget is a key part of the puzzle, and it's affected by many different factors. Certainly, you'll focus on what your finances say and how much of a mortgage you can get approved for. But by looking at real-life homes, you can see what you might actually get at different price points. This will help you and your future agent avoid wasting time later.
4. Get Ideas
Unless you know exactly what you want — and what you can get — from your new home, other people's homes are a good place to get ideas. You can look both for things you do like and what you dislike. For instance, comparing actual lot sizes helps you decide what type of square footage you really need or want.
5. Learn the Lingo
Real estate, like any industry, has its own vocabulary you'll need to know in order to keep up. Get a head start learning the lingo by spending time in the real estate world through simple open houses. You might learn valuable concepts like comparable market analysis, CC&Rs, contingencies, assumable mortgage, easement, and MLS.
Could your future real estate search be boosted by a little advance work now? If so, start by finding an open house in your target area today. Whether you meet the real estate agent you'll love or just learn what you need to know, it's an investment of time that will pay off later.
If you have additional questions, check out resources like @properties.