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5 Things to Know Before Going to an Open House

Maria Fernanda Roda  |  November 10, 2022


5 Things to Know Before Going to an Open House

Housing hunting is an exciting time full of anticipation, eagerness, and exploration of some amazing properties. Whether you enjoy going to open houses on the weekends for fun or you’re preparing to attend one for the first time as you begin your home search, it’s crucial to enter a home with clear goals and a professional by your side.

If you’re in the market for Upper West Side real estate, read on for expert tips from María Fernanda Roda. María would love the chance to guide you in your home search! To help you navigate open houses, here are five things to know before attending one.

1. Clarify your goals

Before going to an open house, you first need to know your goals for attending. There are several reasons to attend an open house.

Maybe you’re searching for design inspiration to use in your own home before renovating or putting your property on the market. Or, you may be interested in what is available in the local market if you don’t currently live in the area. After all, the Upper West Side real estate market is diverse, featuring many property types like single-family homes, condos, and apartment buildings. Your agent can help you explore the various housing options and determine which one is the best fit, and they will attend the open house with you to help you assess and compare the features of each property.

Whatever your goals may be, keep them at the forefront of your mind when choosing to attend an open house. If you’re bringing along a friend or family member, make sure they know your goals as well. Knowing your goals can help narrow down the type of information to focus on receiving, and it can help you leave an open house without any unanswered questions. No matter what, it’s imperative to discuss your goals with your real estate agent, so you both can enter the open house with your priorities in mind.

2. Prepare yourself

Alongside clarifying your goals, you should also prepare by collecting items you may need for an open house.

For instance, bringing a pen and notepad is helpful so you can take notes as you attend. Jotting down notes as you walk through the property will help you remember the small details of each space and keep track of your questions or concerns about the home. This will help jog your memory later on, even after you’ve viewed several properties and the details start to blur together.

A camera may also be helpful, as you might want to take pictures to refer back to once you’re done attending open houses for the day. (However, make sure to ask permission before snapping photographs). In addition, bringing a measuring tape can help you gauge how your furniture will fit in each room.

If you’re unsure about attending an open house, you may also want to prepare a few questions in advance. Some common questions to ask about the home include how old it is, why the owner is selling the property, whether it’s been vacant in the past, and how long it’s been on the market. If you have more questions during the open house, ask them courteously to the agent or seller, as you won’t want to have any doubts or unanswered concerns after leaving. Your agent can also convey your questions to the seller’s agent on your behalf as you tour the property.

3. Know what to look for

An Upper West Side real estate seller will prepare their home for a showing by cleaning and staging the interior and exterior to look its very best. As a buyer, it’s your job to filter through any elaborate staging, instead focusing on the overall structure and layout of the house. Ultimately, you won’t be buying the fashionable decorations and furnishings of the home, so try not to get too distracted by a living room’s accent piece and instead focus on whether or not the living room’s space is suitable for your wants and needs. Look to your agent for any questions you have about the space—they can help you stay focused.

Although it’s important to be respectful of a seller’s home, it’s also essential that you gain a thorough understanding and perspective of the entire property. In most cases, you can politely and carefully open closed doors to rooms, closets, cabinets, and pantries to take a peek inside to better understand the layout and storage spaces. Also, search for signs of wear or red flags, like damage to home appliances, exposed piping behind doors and cupboards, or indications of leaks, mold, or pests.

4. Survey the surrounding area

When traveling from one open house to another, survey the area surrounding the property. After all, when buying a home, you need to feel content with the neighborhood, so make sure you’re satisfied with what you see in shopping complexes, schools, nearby streets, and important amenities.

The Upper West Side appeals to real estate seekers for its quieter atmosphere. When attending an open house in the area, you will likely have a beautiful view of the Hudson River or Central Park. The neighborhood also boasts several recreation and historical sites, like the shopping options on Columbus Avenue, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Riverside Park.

5. Follow the proper etiquette

You won’t be the only person at an open house, so it’s essential to know the proper etiquette for attending a busy tour. The golden rule is a good place to start: treat the house and other visitors the same way you would want your home and yourself to be treated if you were hosting an open house.

Although it’s important to leave an open house with the information you need, ask permission before photographing the home, and follow any open house rules the seller or agent has put in place. Also, don’t overextend your survey of the home. Although it’s normal to open storage spaces to see how spacious they are on the inside, it’s disrespectful to rummage through personal items.

Ready to search for Upper West Side real estate

With these five tips, you’re ready to attend an open house with a skilled agent as your guide. If you’re interested in starting the buying process, contact experienced local agent María Fernanda Roda to guide you through it. María Fernanda Roda’s background involves corporate law in Bolivia, though she has lived in Manhattan since 2016 and is dedicated to finding rental and investment properties for her clients. From the Upper West Side and Upper East Side to Downtown and SoHo real estate, María is the agent you want on your side. She’s a great partner on this journey, so reach out now to get started.


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