Calling all first-time homebuyers! Navigating the buyers' scene in this competitive Oahu market can be very tricky. Of course, to get the best results you must work with an experienced Locations real estate agent, but if you’re new to the home buying scene you may want to get your feet wet and do some open-house window shopping on your own. Here is the Buyers' Guide to Visiting Your First Open House.
1. Download the Locations mobile app on your smartphone.
After you download the free Locations mobile app, select your agent. You can then search for properties in your area that will be open to the public at this Sunday’s open house. The Sunday paper is also a great resource, but why not have all the info right at your smartphone fingertips?
2. Leaving your basic information is courteous, but not mandatory.
The agent working at the open house will want you to sign in to get some basic information from you for their records to report back to their sellers. Just know you are not required to leave your information. Legibly print the information that you are comfortable with leaving with them. Most agents would like to know your name, phone, address, and email, so they can contact you to get any feedback on your experience with the visit. It’s also a good idea to take your agent’s business cards with you and leave them with the open house agent, so they can follow up agent to agent.
3. Be friendly and ask lots of questions.
Going to open houses is the best way to find out your likes and dislikes of a home. Be friendly and ask the agent lots of questions about the house. Explore the house and make a list of things you liked or disliked, so you can report back to your agent. This list can help your agent search for your perfect home.
4. Pay attention on your drive to the open house and observe the neighborhood.
As you drive to the open house, pay attention to the roads and your possible commute to and from work or children’s schools. Oahu’s traffic is a real problem and should be taken into consideration when relocating to a new area. Also, observe the neighborhood. Check out the other homes in the area, nearby shopping centers, parks, etc. Does the neighborhood fit your family’s lifestyle?
5. Take flyers/fact sheets of your favorite homes.
Each open house agent will provide a flyer/fact sheet with the home’s detailed information and photos. These flyers contain handy information like lot sizes, living area square footage, MLS number, and price. Take a flyer with you to help you keep track of your favorite properties, so it’s easier for you to forward these details on to your real estate agent.
6. Follow up with your Real Estate Agent.
Did you see a place you loved? Or hated? Make sure to follow up with your real estate agent with feedback on the places you saw. You may want to make an offer on a house or even change neighborhoods. Seeing a place online and in person can make a world of a difference. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your opinions. If your agent knows your true thoughts on a home they can better service you in the home buying process.