OK, ready, Homebuyers?
We're doing Guerrilla shopping on Sunday at Open Houses!
Step 1 - Print out a list of open houses in your price range/area. How do you find them before Sunday? Check out www.realtor.com and look for homes that have "Open House" on the tag. Ask your agent to run a list of opens advertised in the MLS. I'll give you a great hint and direct you to www.prufoxroach.com. You can do a search of homes that are having an open house right online. Or, you could go old school and wait until the Sunday morning paper and check the "Open House" ads in the Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Step 2- Get your route together and mapquest directions. Pay attention to times - if some are holding their opens from 1-4, you can put them towards the end because many open houses end at 3:00. **Special hint - www.prufoxroach.com will do this for you**
Step 3 - Get your supplies together: notebook, digital camera, and your Agent's business cards if you have an agent. Snacks may also be appropriate (I get a little cranky if I get hungry!) If you're bringing kids, Gameboys, books, travel games, or movies would be a good idea.
Step 4 - Shop till you drop, baby! Spend enough time in the home to get a feel for it. You don't have to do an inspection - ask for a second showing before making a decision and you'll almost always ask for a home inspection if you decide to make an offer. Make sure to take any information provided, even if at first the home isn't on your "Most Wanted" list. You never know when you'll start thinking about a home and reconsider it. Take pictures of things that you like (and don't). Make notes.
Some things to consider:
1. If you are just starting to think about moving, this is a fabulous way to learn the market. It's also a great way to find an agent if you don't have one. You'll find out a lot about an agent by the open house - Are they helpful? Are they knowledgable? Do you "click" with them? Get their card and give them a call when you're ready for help!
2. If you've been in the market a while, this is a good way to filter out the junk in order to concentrate on the "Most Wanted" with your agent. Many people like to shop on their own, at their own pace. Open Houses are a great way to do so.
3. Remember, open houses are such a small minority of what is available on the market. If you don't see anything you like, by all means, don't be discouraged! There's much more out there to look at.