When you go to an open house, it really boils down to judging by appearances. You walk around. You look. But you don’t really take the house for a test drive of sorts.
I mean, when you buy a car you’re certainly going to take it for a spin, right!? You’ll turn on the radio. Move the seats back and forth. You get the picture…
Not so with a house.
To get a true feel for what it would be like if you actually bought the house, it would help if you did these 6 things.
1. Don’t enter through the front door
Who actually gets home and goes in through the front door?
You should go in through the garage door, or whatever door the driveway leads from.
Front doors are for trick-or-treaters, guests who come over like once a year, and people who want you to buy something or join their religion.
Note: This would strike the agent holding the open house as odd at first. But given the above reasoning, it would make total sense why you did it.
2.Plop your mail on the kitchen counter
Seriously, bring it along with you in your back pocket or purse.
The goal is to envision that perfect spot for your mail bills to sit until you have to deal with ‘em.
Right away it’ll hit you… drop the pile you brought right there.
The current owner’s bills won’t be in the spot. They hide that stuff. Like it doesn’t exist.
But don’t be misled; their bills probably sit in the exact same spot on a daily basis. Every house has the bill pile. They’re just hiding it so the house looks good for the open house and people don’t think about real life.
It’s good to get a feel for where exactly in the house you’ll clench your teeth every time you walk by.
Note: This would also strike the agent as odd. But considering you didn’t come in through the front door, this probably wouldn’t surprise the agent.
3. Rearrange the furniture
It’s one thing to bring a tape measure and measure a room, or sort of mentally picture your own furniture in the house. But it’s another to really get a feel for how it would look if things were set up the way you are envisioning.
Furniture is furniture. Everyone has pretty much the same stuff anyway. So shift the furniture around the way you’d like it and get a feel for how it will be once you get these owners out and you in.
Note: Real estate agents love hearing buyers talk about where they would put their own stuff. It’s a good sign someone is really interested. At the same time, nobody in their right mind moves someone’s furniture around. So this will simultaneously excite, befuddle, and aggravate the agent.
4. Cook a meal
While the agent is moving the furniture back to the proper place, go into the kitchen and quickly rummage through the fridge to see what you can cobble together for dinner.
Don’t get bogged down on there being nothing in the house to eat. Remember, this is to get a feel for how it will really be to live in the house on a daily basis.
Grab the pots, pans, and utensils you need as fast as you can. The agent is going to be in any second to put a stop to this. So there is an absolute need to do this as fast as possible. This will serve as a good way of getting a feel for the rush to get dinner done on a typical day.
If this strikes you as too burdensome, just rifle through the drawers to find the messy pile of take-out menus. Every house has that drawer and that pile as well…
Note: While you are cooking you may discover that the faucet leaks, or certain cabinet doors don’t close right. You can do one of two things.
1. Ignore it, since that is most likely what you will do once you own the house.
5. Use the bathroom
As you’re cooking, you’ll hear the agent running in from having put the furniture back in order to put a stop to this.
Grab the newspaper you brought. Fold it and tuck it under your arm. Head to the bathroom. Close the door.
This is a good way to avoid having conversations you want to avoid. But expect the agent (or whoever you end up living with in the house once you own it) to try and discuss things with you through the door.
At this point, the agent may be pretty concerned with you and yelling at you through the door.
You could simply open the door and come out.
Or, you can say that you don’t hear him or her over the noise of the fan.
Or simply ask, “What’s a 5 letter word that begins with ‘w’ and ends with ‘d’? The hint is ‘Another word for odd’. This crossword puzzle is killing me.”
Note: This is an important room to test out. Statistically, people use the bathroom 6-7 times per day. According to research, men spend 1 hour and 40 minutes per week on the toilet. Women 1 hour and 20 minutes. I’m not citing sources… Google it if you want. But finish this article first.
6. Perform magic in the bedroom
At this point, there is a good chance the agent is off calling his or her manager… or the police. But you haven’t even checked out the bedroom yet.
If you can manage to, you wanna get by the agent, into the bedroom, and then close the door.
As the agent pounds on the door and asks, “What exactly do you think you’re doing in there?!”…
… calmly reply, “I’m pulling a rabbit out of a hat! This is where the magic happens, isn’t it? Or is that another room?”
Seriously, don’t do these things at someone else’s home
Kidding aside, it’s quite a privilege to be allowed to walk into someone else’s home.
Treat it with respect.
As importantly, treat the agent at the open house with respect.
Too often people walk into an open house and are rude to (or ignore) the agent who is there. I get it. Nobody wants someone hovering over them or giving them some pushy sales pitch. This creates an invisible wall. A barrier between customers and agents.
Agents are people. Quite often they are good and fun people. Be pleasant. Respect their requests and ways of conducting an open house.
Certainly don’t use this list as an actual to-do list at an open house.
But certainly do use it as a good way to get a conversation started, have some fun, and get to know the agent who could be a great match for you to work with either on the purchase of that house or another one that suits you better.