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Attending an open house can be one of the most effective ways to find your first home or any new property, as you'll get to walk through the rooms. By preparing open house questions for the real estate agent hosting the event, you can gain insights that may otherwise be difficult to gather.

These conversations can be useful at any point in your house-hunting journey — whether you're just entertaining the thought of making a purchase or you're further down the road and have already been pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Notably, you can go to open houses alone or with an agent who's helping you with your search. If you're not already working with someone, you could actually meet an agent you'd like to hire at an open house.

Dig Deep

Ensure that you have a copy of the listing sheet, which usually details elements like a property's price, square footage, year it was built, and number of bedrooms. But be sure to seek out facts that aren't already documented on that sheet during the open house so that you have as much information as possible. You can also ask a real estate agent for a property disclosure statement, which provides information about known problems such as plumbing or foundation issues, as well as other data like when the sellers did renovations.

Query the agent about which property features they appreciate the most. You may uncover advantages about the home that you didn't notice initially. For example, the house may have energy-saving storm windows, a sprinkler system, or perhaps all of the bedrooms are on the same floor. You should also inquire about the neighborhood. Is it safe? Are there predominantly young families or empty nesters? How are the schools? Is there an active homeowners association and if so, are membership fees mandatory?

Another question you should ask stems from etiquette while touring. Can you take photographs or videos of the home? Chronicling your tour can help you remember properties, especially if you're visiting many in one day, but it's polite to ask permission first before you start documenting your visit.

Gather Nuggets for Negotiations

Other kinds of queries can help you prepare an offer, like why the owners want to sell. If they're eager to unload a house, they may accept a lower bid. If the home has been on the market for a bit, try to find out why. You may find that there's something deterring buyers or that it's merely common for area properties to sell slowly.

Ask if there are other offers — it will help you gauge the level of competition for a home and the urgency to submit a bid.

Be Open to the Possibilities

Finding open houses is relatively easy. They're often advertised on real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. If you're not in a big rush to buy a home, plan to attend a few open houses, even in neighborhoods that aren't on your short list. You may find a surprising new area that would be a great place to put down roots.

Touring a variety of properties can also help you establish your preferences. You may start your search set on buying a two-story but find you're actually drawn to one-level options. Likewise, you could realize that having plenty of cabinet space is actually really important to your search while having a formal dining room is not. You could even discover your decorating style leans more traditional than contemporary.

Visiting open houses and speaking with those hosting them can only help educate you and guide you to become a confident house hunter.

Disclosures

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on www.Key.com, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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