6 Tips for Navigating an Open House


Open house 101: Don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable!

The season is back in full swing.  Yes, full-swing is open for interpretation.  But if you are one of the many #EastBay buyers purusing open houses on a rainy Sunday afternoon then this list if for you.

1- Go through the underwear drawers.  Ok, maybe not the underwear drawers, but DO go through the closets!  Don’t be shy – you need to know how much storage space there is in that closet.  If they were really worried about you going through their stuff they should have moved it out.  And do open kitchen and bathroom drawers.  That would suck if the drawer-face or handle fell off.  This happened.  True story.

2- Wash your hands.  For 2 minutes.  And then turn on the tub.  And then go pee and flush.  DO IT!!  Ok, we are in a drought.  But we {hopefully} won’t be forever!  And wouldn’t you want to know ahead of time if the hot water pipes bang or the pressure in the tub suddenly goes buh-bye when you flush?  I would!  Water pressure {or lack thereof} can be an annoying, and costly, headache.

3- Look under rugs.  If you are in one of my listings one thing you might find under the rug is a neat little pile of swept-up crumbs and dust.  What you will never find are undisclosed stains or other damage to the floor.  I’ll never forget the time my clients were looking at a house, only to discover that the floors in the beautiful, sun-drenched dining room had faded around the rug.

4- Check that attic and crawl space!  Ok true story – I was up in an attic with a buyer and home inspector – what was there?  A bucket.  Awe, that’s nice – they left a bucket for us.  A bucket full of water, conveniently placed in the event of rain.  And check the basement!  Nothing like discovering a crawl space full of decades worth of rakes, paint cans, wood, and dead animals.  Make sure you write this into your contract that you want all of this crap removed before the close of escrow.

5- Say hello to the neighbors.  Don’t be shy!  Come back at different times during the day.  See if they are working in the yard.  Knock on their door.  Who better to get to know the neighborhood than from the {hopefully friendly} neighbor?  From block parties to roosters to parking drama, neighbors always have the scoop.  Are they happy to answer your questions?  Standoffish?  Well at least you know.

6- Say hello to the listing agent.  While at the house, please ask the listing agent questions!!!  Granted some agents holding a house open aren’t worth more than a {hopefully friendly} smile.  But most agents have direct access to the seller – if they remember you chances are they will let the agent know.  Be investigative.  If you notice something strange in the house then ask the agent what they know.  And if you are represented by an agent, let them know that as well.  Getting an offer to the finish line often has to do with the upfront due diligence between the buyer and listing agent and the relationship between the listing agent and your agent.