One of the best ways to look at homes is by going to open houses. In Dubuque, this means touring homes on a Sunday. On a typical Sunday you can find dozens being held in nearly every price range. Often there is no way to see all of them in your price range. There are ways to get the most out of your time and still see as many as you can.
One of the advantages of an open house is that it’s a little more casual then scheduling a private showing. You may feel you need to spend more time if you’ve set something up
with your Realtor. If you arrive at the home and find almost immediately it’s not to your taste, you’ll feel obligated to spend time because you scheduled something. At an open house, if you find it’s not to your taste you can leave relatively quickly..
You can also see more listings in a shorter period of time. When scheduling through a Realtor you have to find times that work for you, the Realtor and the family selling the home. You might be able to schedule a couple at once, but more than that can be tricky.
Here are some ways to get the most out of open houses.
Determine Your Price Range
Hopefully you’re already pre-approved by a mortgage company before you even begin as that will make the process easier. For one, it will give you a price range to work with. Yet, even if you’re just starting out and haven’t even met with anyone you want to have an idea of what type of monthly payment you can afford.
Keep to homes in the price range you set, so you don’t waste time looking at properties you can’t afford. It doesn’t hurt to go a little outside this range though, as the price could be negotiable. Especially if the property has been on the market for a while.
Have a Game Plan
You’ll find it easier if you have some sort of plan before you even start out. After typing in your price range you’ll likely find there are showings anywhere from 11 to 2. This isn’t a large time frame so try to find showings that are located close together. If you try to go from one end of Dubuque to the other and then back again, you won’t be able to make that many.
Budget Your Time
You might try to get as many open houses as you can in a day, but try not to get to the point that you’re rushing through each home. Better to set aside enough time to really go through each home. You want to check out not just the interior, but the exterior as well. 15 minutes is probably about right. There might be a few homes that you know almost immediately don’t appeal to you so don’t spend too much time with these.
Improvise While Your Touring Houses
Perhaps you gave yourselves longer than you needed to go through the homes and find you have time available. Jump on your cell phone and look to see what open houses are still going on near your location. You can quickly scroll through the photos available to get an idea of what the home offers and then punch in the location on your GPS. While out driving you might see signs for open houses you weren’t aware of. Do a quick search to see if they meet your criteria.
Ask The Realtor At The Home Questions.
When you get to the home you’ll be greeted by the Realtor selling the home or someone acting on their behalf. They’ll likely hand you a print out on the home. It should answer many of the questions you have about the home, but take advantage of having the Realtor there to ask additional questions.
Here are some you might want to ask
- Do the appliances come with the home? They might not, but it could be something negotiated.
- How long has the home has been on the market and if the price has dropped at some point.
- Has the home has received any offers.
- Are there any contingencies to the buyer selling, such as they’re closing on another home.
- How soon can you take possession?
Discuss at the End of the Day
If you’re touring the homes with your significant other or maybe your family, you likely talked about each home as you went through it. After you’re completely done, talk about if any of the homes are potential candidates. Also talk about some of the features you liked about some of the homes, even if you weren’t interested in them. It might give you some ideas for telling your Realtor more of what you’re looking for.
Schedule Another Showing
If some of the homes have met your criteria and you’re to the point that you might want to make an offer, then schedule a showing with your realtor. If not everyone in the family went to the open house, then try to get them to come along. It’s a way to get more feedback on the property.
American Realty has a listing of open houses in Dubuque and surrounding areas every week. You can easily sort through it by various criteria, including price. Check out some of the homes in your range and while you’re touring them, introduce yourself to the Realtor. You might find a professional you’re comfortable with and who could eventually be your Realtor.