Looking at properties in person

There are two ways a buyer can tour a home or property; through a private, professional appointment with their agent, or by attending an open house available to all interested parties.

Open House

An open house is a block of time during which a listing agent is present at a home and any potential buyer is permitted to walk through the property. Open houses typically occur on Saturdays or Sundays and are 3-4 hours long. Because a listing agent is present, buyers do not need to be accompanied by their agent in order to attend.

Attending open houses can be a great opportunity to see what is available in certain neighborhoods, or to get an idea of a property’s condition and price point in a “no pressure” situation. 

Often the listing agent will use an open house as an opportunity to convert browsing buyers into potential clients, so if you do attend an open house, be sure to let the agent on site know you are already working with a buyer’s agent.

Professional Showing

A professional appointment is referred to as a showing. A showing is an opportunity for you and your agent to tour a property in private. Typically, the sellers will not be present for the showing, allowing you to take your time and thoroughly examine the home’s layout, condition and amenities. Occasionally, the seller must remain in the home due a medical condition or other extenuating circumstance. If the seller plans to be present during the showing, this will be communicated by their agent ahead of time.
The standard amount of time reserved for a showing appointment is 30 minutes, although it takes the typical buyer about 15-20 minutes to walk through a property.  If you feel more time may be helpful for you, just let your agent know ahead of time. Remember, they are here to support you throughout the process and can arrange for longer appointments, if needed.
When you find a property that you think might be a potential fit for you, let your agent know right away. This can be done via our website (by selecting “Request a Showing”) or by simply emailing, calling or texting your agent.

Your agent will then review the property’s showing instructions and collaborate with the listing agent to find a time that works for both buyer and seller. In a busy market, appointments can be scheduled in close succession and there may be a day of solid showings.  Keep in mind that it is very important to be on time to your scheduled appointment, since arriving early or staying later may not be an option.
Take Notes and Photos
Most likely, you and your family will look at several homes before you find “the one.” In fact, the average number of homes toured by a potential buyer is approximately 10 homes in 10 weeks, and believe us, it’s easy to get the details mixed up. Remember to take photos, videos, and notes on each tour. Photograph features you particularly like or dislike about each home.  This not only helps you keep track of your preferences, but can also trigger additional questions you may have about the home later on.

The sellers might be watching or listening
In today’s tech savvy world, be aware that sellers could be watching/listening during a showing. From Ring doorbells to Nest security cameras, many of today’s homes are outfitted with cameras and microphones. This makes it easy for sellers to spy on potential buyers as they tour a house, or watch video footage of it after the fact. Because of this, buyers should be careful with their words and behavior while house hunting. In general, do not over praise or insult a home while you are touring it. There will be plenty of time afterward to discuss your real thoughts and feelings with your agent once you have left.

Research the Neighborhood
Take a few minutes before or after your home tour to check out the neighborhood. How does it feel to you? Is there a lot of activity or is it too quiet? What amenities are nearby? Does it seem like a good fit for you and your family? What are the schools like?

Don’t Forget the Exterior
Don’t forget to walk around the entire home and surrounding property. Give special attention to items such as age and condition of the roof and siding, as these are important and expensive items to consider. Does the landscaping need a lot of work? What type of upkeep will it entail?  These are good things to keep in mind and should be noted at the time of your tour.

The Location of the Home
You know what they say when it comes to real estate: “Location, Location, Location!” While it’s possible to replace finishes, move walls and update fixtures, you cannot change the location of the home. It might seem simple, but it is important to be aware of how the location could impact the value of a home.

Kids & Animals At Showings & Open Houses

House-hunting can be a challenging process and bringing small children along can complicate it further. Here are some thoughts regarding whether or not you should bring small children with you.

While exceptions certainly exist, we generally dissuade you from attending showings and Open Houses with your children in tow. Most parents can intuit the potential issues that could arise when bringing kids into a stranger’s house, even for the most well-behaved. The presence of children can prevent you from noting and processing important details about the home, and it can present a liability concern for the agent as well. The same concerns apply to Open Houses, compounded by the fact that there will most likely be other groups of people present, potentially adding to the chaos.

We do understand, however, that there are situations for which arranging childcare is not an option. If that is the case, communicate with your agent ahead of time so they can plan to make the showing as smooth as possible. 

Your agent might arrange for a longer showing so that parents can take turns watching the kiddos, or schedule separate showings for each parent.

If you do bring your pets or fur babies with you wherever you go, we ask that you leave them in the car during showings. This is requested out of respect for the seller, the cleanliness of their home, and any unknown allergies.