By: Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, (RA), e-PRO
Open Houses in Hawaii are a given. We market the property through advertising in the newspaper for our Open Houses and everyone (from buyer’s to neighbors to people who are thinking of selling their home in the same area) attend these Sunday events! Yup…Sunday events!
Buyer’s can use Open House’s as part of their home search (along with the private appointments your realtor sets up) so following are some guidelines (I call these the lucky seven) for buyer’s while at an Open House:
1) Look at properties in your price range! Make sure you are pre-qualified with a local lender (your agent most likely already made sure you have) and look at properties 10 -20 % above and below your price range. Looking at properties way above your price range (that you can’t live without) will no doubt stick in your mind forever so be realistic. (or keep reading those Fine Homes and Estates magazines)
2) Remember, the agent who is holding the Open House has the Seller’s best interests at heart. A lot of home buyer’s “believe” that they are going to “get a better deal” if they deal with the seller’s agent directly. The truth is that you are best represented by having your own agent (buyer’s representative or buyer’s agent) and the agent who is hosting the Open House has one thing in mind. To get the best terms and deal for the seller…..NOT YOU.
3) Remove your shoes! Wear slip on/off shoes. We all remove our shoes before entering a home here anyway but for those of you who just came from the Continental U.S. who are not used to this please have the courtesy to remove your shoes. The seller may have already had their carpet professionally cleaned and would like to keep it clean for not only this first open house but for future ones as well. (and we may have just had a rainy season and they may not want mud tracks throughout their home)
4) Keep ahold of your children. Instruct them to not touch anything or wander around the yard by themselves. And all real estate agents tie up unruley kids (just kidding)
5) Register in the guest book. But give your agent’s card, phone number and email address. Otherwise, you will have every agent in the world calling and clogging up your email (unless you like a bunch of spam)
6) Make a list of wants and needs. And then compare it to the property. Make notes! You’ll know when you walk into “your” home if you use your head (needs) and heart (wants).
7) Call your own realtor if you see a property you like and want to put in an offer! Your agent will be able to speak to the seller’s agent and get any special terms and addendums before writing up the offer. Resist the urge to talk to the seller’s realtor and worse yet…the owner! Your own agent is the most valuable negotiating tool and bargaining power for your transaction.
8) Loan Officers on site. Though there are “honest” loan officers/lenders that are “helping” with any questions regarding loans at an Open House, remember that the Open House is so you can view and get more information on the property and “feel” if this is the right home for you. If you already have a realtor then you most likely were already pre-qualified or pre-approved. If you tell the agent and loan officer you already have an agent and loan officer and they become pushy this is a red flag.
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