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    8 Reasons to Visit An Open House (Whether or Not You’re Buying)

    You can gather ideas, get a handle on the market, find an agent and more.

    There are plenty of reasons to attend open houses, whether or not you are looking to buy. Here are eight reasons to check out those weekend open houses near you.

    1. Get to know your local housing market before you sell.Simply attending a few open houses in your neighborhood can give you an education about the housing market in your area beyond what your real estate agent can tell you. The prices of comparable homes, features that are popular and attendance levels at open houses can be valuable data to gather before you put your home on the market.
    2. Get ideas for www.Whether you are looking for a professional to help you stage your home or want to do it yourself, attending open houses is a great way to pick up ideas. Notice wall colors, furniture arrangements, styles and accessories, and use this information as a jumping-off point for your own staging process.
    3. Gather design inspiration.On the other hand, if you’ve recently purchased a home and are looking for decorating and remodeling ideas, local open houses can show you what other homeowners have done. It’sespecially helpful to look at homes that have floor plans similar to yours.
    4. Get comfortable in a home you are considering buying.If you’ve been seriously looking to buy for a while, and you have narrowed your prospects down to a few favorite homes, attending the open house can be a nice way to explore the home further and hear what other open house attendees are saying.
    5. Get referrals for pros.If you live in the neighborhood and are looking for a good contractor, designer or other professional, scoping out open houses can be a good way to view that pro’s work firsthand. Most agents have established relationships with pros they know and trust, and are happy to share recommendations. But if you are there without any intention of buying, don’t take up the agent’s time during a busy open house. Wait for a slow stretch and be honest and upfront about what you are looking for.
    6. Be a fly on the wall.If you’re thinking of selling your home soon, having some idea of what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood can be incredibly helpful. There’s no need to pretend that you’re a potential buyer while attending open houses. Most agents realize that neighbors like to attend open houses, and it’s best to be honest (or at least quiet) and not waste an agent’s time with pretense.
    7. Meet your future agent.Seeing an agent in action is a great way to get a feel for his or her style and consider whether you would work well together. We met our buyer’s agent at an open house she was working. We didn’t really mesh with the house (and weren’t quite ready to buy), but we were impressed with the agent, so when it was time to get serious about house shopping, we looked her up.
    8. Think of it as a practice run.We’ve all heard stories of the “love at first sight” home purchase. But if you’re buying a house for the first time, it can be a good idea to get in a few practice runs before you begin your search in earnest. Once you’ve viewed 10 or more houses, you won’t be as thrown off by the process.Tip: Keep a list of must-have items to check at each home you see, and get some practice running through your checklist at open houses before you really begin your search.

    Houzz | Laura Gaskill | January 8, 2017

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