Visiting Open Houses in Houston, TX
Each weekend, prospective home buyers attend Open Houses and preview homes listed for sale in Houston, TX. The schedule convenience coupled by the showing feasibility allows for buyers to preview multiple homes with little to no pressure. It almost feels like window shopping to see the latest in home remodeling, weird HGTV self-improved spaces and manicured landscapings. Most buyers go to Open Houses to compare homes in areas that would suit them. Here are a few things that can be useful for your Open House Previewing:
1. Have a notepad and pencil/pen accessible.
Take a notepad (scratch paper later gets tossed away) to jot down quick information about the property that will help you with distinguish from the few properties you intend to see for the day. Takes as many notes as possible at every house you visit. If you are graphically inclined, do a sketch of the house while you are there so you know if the house layout is something to consider for your future needs. It is easy to forget which home had which features if you are previewing multiple homes.
2. Take a digital camera.
It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words. A digital camera allows you to compare different homes you visited while at an Open House when you are in the comfort of your own home. Take a picture of the kitchen, bathrooms and exterior areas. Make sure you take a picture of the front exterior as you walk into the house for reference. I find it easier to take a picture of the natural flow of the house versus random pictures of the property. Take a picture of the address for quick reference later.
3. Ask for a property brochure or property flyer.
Having a property brochure will help you reference the property when you get home. Most property brochures will provide information such as square footage, MLS number, taxes, room measurements and property pictures. Search the property on the Houston Multiple Listing Service through our website when you get home and save the properties that most interested you. We will then provide you additional information or research the market activity on your behalf.
4. Establish the five most important criteria for your new home.
Before you start previewing homes, write a list of the five most important criteria for your perfect home. Let's call this your Top 5 Must Have's in the property. This will help narrow the many Open Houses available in your search area according to the criteria that is most important to you. Don't waste your time with homes that don't fit your search criteria.
5. Scout and evaluate the neighborhoods.
Drive the neighborhoods that most interest you. Drive through the entire area at different times of the day, during the week and on weekends. Look carefully at how well other homes in the area are being maintained; are they painted, are the yards well cared for; are parked cars in good condition, etc. Look for things like access to major thoroughfares, highways, and shopping. Evaluate the noise in the areas of interest to see if you are comfortable with it such as major intersections, traffic sounds, railroads, etc. Check with local civic, police, fire, and school officials to find information about the area. Look at traffic patterns around the area during different times of the day and drive from the area to work. Find out if the neighborhood is near parks, churches, recreation centers, shopping, theaters, restaurants, public transportation, schools with Satellite Area Maps. Use our website to define how walkable the neighborhood is. Find out if the neighborhood belongs to a Homeowner’s Association. Compare the neighborhood and community statistics with the Community Information Report.
6. Do your research with the County Appraisal Districts.
Go to the Harris County Appraisal District website and look at the homes you plan to preview over the weekend. Tax information is public information and will provide you with useful information such as year built, square footage of the improvement, lot size, lot dimensions, tax rates, number of rooms and bathrooms, etc. Sometimes, the Appraisal District websites do not have completely accurate information when homes have been improved and additional square footage added. Other Appraisal Distrcts near the Greater Houston Area are the Fort Bend Appraisal Distrct and the Brazoria County Appraisal District.
7. Ask if a Home Warranty will be provided with the house.
Home Warranties protect both the Buyers and Sellers. A Home Warranty protects you and your loved ones living with you against financial setbacks due to costly repair or replacement of covered appliances and major systems. Home Warranty policies are not total replacement rembursements but they provide a credit towards covered items when they cannot be repaired. This helps when needing to buy new appliances or even a condenser unit. The Home Warranty protects the seller during the listing period and the buyer for a full year, beginning the day of closing. With so many unknowns, a Home Warranty gives you peace-of-mind. Most home warranties range $350-700 for initial protection plans for homes under 4,000 sq. ft. Homes larger than 4,000 are generally more expensive but a very good idea and a negotiating factor when placing an offer.
8. Take a tape measure!
A tape measure can eliminate possible doubts and save you alot of future questions about furniture placement and your specific design compatability. Does your bed frame fit in the master bedroom? Does the breakfast table fit properly? Would you need to purchase new furniture for this house?
9. Preview pictures online!
Preview pictures online before you decide to see the home. Check to see if the house is available through our website via our Home Search Portal. We provide real-time data from the Houston Multiple Listing Service. Check to see if there are any virtual tours or picture slideshow for the properties you plan to preview during your Open House.
10. Tell them you are working with an agent.
In Texas, the Seller's Agent represents the Seller and must place the interest of the Seller first. This means that they do not represent you or your best interests. Anything you discuss with them provides a tactical and negotiation advantage to the Seller. We would welcome the opportunity to represent you as your Buyer's Agent. We can schedule a complimentary in-person or Zoom meeting with you to show you how we sell homes. Most of the properties we send you through our system already includes our Buyer Agent Commission! This means that we have already procured our Agent Commission for homes we send you through the Multiple Listing Service. We welcome the opportunity to work with you.
Schedule a Buyer Appointment with us this week by telling us what you are searching for in a home in the Greater Houston Area.
We would love the opportunity to earn your business. Feel free to contact us via our Contact Form on our website or call us at 713-970-1032.