It's Sunday! We Have Our Sunglassses On! Let's Hit the Road and Check Out Open Houses!

Real Estate Agent with Boardman Realty Minnesota License#90858

It’s almost spring! (Okay...after the "snowmaggeton" winter we have been having we can pretend right?) Now that springtime-buy-a-new-house bug is starting to bite. You know that little feeling that tells you that this is the year to buy a new home.

Interest rates are low still at record breaking lows (and we know they cannot stay there much longer). There is a great selection of new and existing homes. And frankly, you are just tired of renting!
So how do you go about finding a first home? Most people start on the internet. Since you are reading this, it is a good bet that your first step will be an online search. But after spending days, weeks and months online, now its time to venture outdoors and see some houses.

So on a perfect winter Sunday, you start driving by some of the properties that were presented so beautifully on the computer screen. You see the real estate signs and the open house arrows, you drive slowly past the home but can't step on the pedal that will slow the car. You are frozen with questions.

What will you say to the agent in the home?

What do you do?

Relax. You are not alone. Many first time home buyers panic outside of an open house because the are unsure of what will be expected of them after they walk through the door. Heck, some aren’t sure before they step over the threshold whether or not to ring the doorbell or just walk in. So you are in very good company if you have been driving by your dream homes.

Here’s a few tips for getting the most out of attending real estate open houses.

  1. Get out of the car! Sounds so simple but you can tell more about the home from the inside of the house than the inside of your car.
  2. Walk right in! If you feel self conscious, ring the doorbell first just for fun. That way you can be certain it works.
  3. If the agent doesn’t say “Hello”, say it first. Let them know you are just checking out the place.
  4. Take a look around. Check out every room, closets, basements, attics and ask the agent questions about the home.
  5. While you are checking out the house, check out the agent. Size up REALTOR to see if he or she is someone that you would want to represent you in the purchase of your home.

Here’s the thing, the first home you visit may or may not be your dream home after all. Heck, probably not even the second or third one will have that "IT" factor for you.

But stopping in open houses gives you a unique opportunity to size up REALTORS. Yep you want to check out several agents to find one that you would want to work with for the next few months. (The home buying process can take a 3-4 months want to make sure you LIKE the person you are working with!) If you take a Sunday and go to 6-7 open houses, you will meet 6-7 different agents. Some you will like; some you will hate; and one you will downright love to work with.

When you make that connection with a REALTOR, sign a buyers’ representation agreement, visit with a loan officer for pre-approval for a loan, and then have your agent show you every home on your short list. Not all home owners allow open houses. Working with one agent will save you time and frustration and allow you to quickly see all of the homes you have been scouting out online.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the car and get out there. Your perfect home and REALTOR awaits!

One Last Tip...If you really don't think you can get out of the car, start visiting REALTOR blogs to get a feel of an agent's personality. Find a few agents that you like and call them to discuss your needs. When you make a connection, sign a representation agreement with the agent. Now your REALTOR will set up private showings and take the open house pressure away.

Posted by

Teri Eckholm. REALTOR with Boardman Realty, is a native Minnesotan who has lived and worked in the Minneapolis St Paul metro all of her life. She specializes in lakeshore homes, acreage properties and first time home buyers but assists anyone making a move in the north and east Twin Cities metro.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give Teri , a call or visit her website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report She specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

TERI, You give some great advice to a first time home buyer that is starting looking through open houses.

Feb 05, 2011 10:36 AM #1
Pat Laracy Baker
Realty Executives Boston West - Holliston, MA
Realtor, Green, ABR, Holliston, Massachusetts

Teri,  you are very gifted and write a great blog.

Feb 05, 2011 01:50 PM #2
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Teri.. it's not Sunday just yet.. lol  Seriously, not being a realtor, you give some really good tips... even the part about seizing up the realtor. Again, some good info..

Jeff Belonger

Feb 05, 2011 03:39 PM #3
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Great thoughts Teri about CHECKING OUT the Realtors. Some of them in open houses are downright GREAT.

Feb 05, 2011 03:41 PM #4
Steve Scheer
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers - Highlands Ranch, CO
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate

I agree, great points about talking to some agents and checking them out.  I had to chuckle at the first line - get out of the car.  DO people just sit there and look at the house and not get out?

Feb 05, 2011 05:36 PM #5
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!


I am thinking today would be a great day to go out and see open houses. Go Packers!!

Feb 06, 2011 08:08 AM #6
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Terry, Good point, I guess an Open House could be a kind of audition for those looking for a Realtor. Good point.

Feb 06, 2011 02:11 PM #7
Terkel Sørensen
Real Estate Places - Temecula, CA
Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales

Hi Teri, that's why I do the open houses... I like meeting people, and you know, some of them really want to stay and get started. 

Feb 06, 2011 04:17 PM #8
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Nice blog.  Buyers do need to get out and look at open houses.  They just might find something they like.  And it is a good way to size up realtors and maybe find the right fit for them.

Feb 06, 2011 05:10 PM #9
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Teri, great advice for that first time home buyer wanting to check out Open Houses.

Feb 07, 2011 01:40 AM #10
Angela Clark
Tony Clark REALTORS - Owensboro, KY
CRS, Realtor, Broker

Teri, this is a great, soft introduction for first time buyers, Well done! 

Feb 07, 2011 06:09 AM #11
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN

almost makes me want to do open houses . . NOT

Feb 07, 2011 06:12 AM #12
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Marchel--First time homebuyers can always use the extra assistance!

Pat--Why thank you! :) it is Tuesday. lol Sunday is usually the big open house day. Didn't think about it when I posted on Saturday.

Feb 08, 2011 02:25 AM #13
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Gary--Absolutely there are great agents that still do open houses...And some not so great ones. If a buyer checks out a few opens and agents, they should find one that they want to work with.

Steve--Yes...Every time I do open houses I get people who park out front and just stare at the house and drive away slowly. That is why I'm telling them it is okay to "come on in!" :o)

Tom--Bet this past Sunday the only open houses in Wisc that were open were full of excited Packer Backers...congrats on their victory!

Feb 08, 2011 02:30 AM #14
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Wayne--Whenever I do an open house, I always recommend to first  time buyers to talk with the agents and find one they want to work with exclusively (so they can avoid opens in the future).

Terkel--It was much better at opens a few years ago when demand was higher but yes, first time buyers don't always have an agent when they walk through the front door of an open house so it is an opportunity for the agent hosting the open to meet potential clients too!

Evelyn--Exactly! Getting out and seeing the house gives them an opportunity to check out the agent too!

Feb 08, 2011 02:34 AM #15
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Michael--Thank you! :)

Angela--Thanks! I appreciate that!

Teresa--Hahaha...Many agents don't like to do open houses. I won't hold it against you! lol

Feb 08, 2011 02:36 AM #16
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Teri, Congrats on the feature. Nicely done and I like the way that you made touring Open Houses useful beyond looking at homes. Finding your real estate professional at an open house is not such a bad idea. At least you know that by holding homes open they are at least out in the market place and probably have a pretty good feel of the market.

Feb 08, 2011 08:56 AM #17
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

William--Thanks!! I would often find buyers to work with at open houses. Sometimes they would want to buy the house I was holding open but sometimes we would start talking and a day or so later they would sign a rep agreement with me as their agent to help them find the right home for them. Talking to several agents shows we are not all the same and before you make a commitment, it is good to find someone you want to work with.

Feb 09, 2011 09:20 AM #18
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Good blog - I would add that being polite to the agent is a good idea.  YEs, we do want your information- we need it for the home seller.  If you stop by - expect that we will call or attempt to contact you by email. Its part of the process.

Feb 16, 2011 02:26 PM #19
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