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What Is an Open House? 7 FAQs for Home Buyers

If you’re house hunting, you’ve probably seen dozens of notices for an open house. What you might not know is exactly what an open house is and how to approach them. Buyers have a lot of questions about open houses, and when you get answers you’ll be a lot more comfortable in your home search.
If you’re house hunting, you’ve probably seen dozens of notices for an open house. What you might not know is exactly what an open house is and how to approach them. Buyers have a lot of questions about open houses, and when you get answers you’ll be a lot more comfortable in your home search.

Looking at homes can be the best part of the home buying process. It’s just fun to walk through properties and imagine yourself living there.

One of the best ways to find out about a home for sale is to go to the open house. You can walk around with your buyer’s agent and see if the property is something you’re interested in. If you want to find out more about how a buyer’s agent can make your house hunt easier, contact Clever today.

What do you need to know before you head to an open house? Here are the answers you need.

What is an open house showing?

An open house is a public event that allows anyone to see a property for a specific period of time. The seller’s real estate agent sets up the event and is present as people walk through the property.

There are no official tours or anything — you simply come and go as you want. The listing agent can answer your questions, and an experienced buyer’s agent can help you look for specific features that are important to you.

Can I just walk into an open house?

Although it seems odd to simply walk into a home you don’t own, the answer is yes! The purpose of an open house is for potential buyers to see the home. The listing agent will be available to highlight the best features of the property, but your buyer’s agent can help you look more deeply.

The homeowners will not be at the open house unless they are not using a listing agent. As a result, you can take your time and see if the home is a good fit for you.

Do I need a realtor to go to an open house?

There are no requirements to have your buyer’s agent with you during an open house. However, having someone who is on your side and knows what you’re looking for can be very helpful.

The listing agent will point out the best features of the home and may gloss over things that are less attractive. That’s why having your own agent helps — they have your interests in mind.

How do I find open houses?

Now that you know how useful an open house is for finding out more about a home you’re interested in, you may wonder how to find out about them. Fortunately, they are often easy to find.

You can do an online search on a real estate portal like Zillow or realtor.com. They have search features that allow you to zero in on open houses in your area. You can also search on social media, look for yard signs, or even go old-fashioned and check the newspaper for open house listings.

What do you wear to an open house?

Open houses are not formal events, but you want to be taken seriously as a buyer. Wear appropriate clean, casual clothes. If you look like you’re not taking the process seriously, the listing agent isn’t likely to give you the respect you’re looking for.

If you’re viewing a high-priced property, or the event is a more formally-organized cocktail party and viewing, it may be appropriate to dress up more.

Do I have to sign in at an open house?

The listing agent is likely to ask you to sign in when you first come into the home. This list will be used for marketing and is also used as a way to keep track of who viewed the property and get feedback on what you thought.

If you don’t feel comfortable putting down your contact information, consider creating an email address just for your home buying process. That way you can write that down and sift through the emails at your leisure, without disturbing your normal email inbox.

Don’t lie about your identity, though. It can come back to haunt you if you decide to make an offer later.

Is an open house worth it?

So is it worthwhile to go to an open house? Absolutely! It gives you a stress-free opportunity to view a home you’re interested in. If you’re able to bring a buyer’s agent, you can discuss the pros and cons with them and get advice on an offer.

Open houses are a great way to see properties without having to set a specific appointment. You can also do several in a day since many are on weekends.

Find the Home You’re Looking for With a Clever Partner Agent

Buying a home is a long process and it can be a challenge to find a home you love in your price range. Having a buyer’s agent on your side can make all the difference.

The listing agent is advocating for the seller, not for you. Having your own agent means you’ll have your interests protected during the offer, negotiation, and closing. Even better, when you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you may qualify for a $1,000 cash rebate (in 40 states) toward your closing costs.

Ready to get started with your home search? Reach out to Clever today.

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Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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