Buyers do not realize that when they are chatting with the seller's agent that they giving away valuable information that may be used later if they decide to go ahead and fill out a purchase contract. For instance, if a buyer walks into a home and starts raving about how much they love everything and that is the perfect home and start talking about how their furniture will look in the dining room, they are giving away valuable negotiation power. This can refer back to a few years ago when Realtors were encouraging buyer clients to write personal offers explaining why they really want to live there and talking about their families. The sellers could take this information and based on what is in the letter reject the offer. It is much better to be progessional and not talk about anything in the home until they have left the premises and not in hearing distance of anyone connected with the home.
The real estate agent at an open house works for the seller.
In many states, there is a sign, usually next to the sign in sheet, saying the agent at the open house works for the listing brokerage and the seller.
If you are new to the real estate game, be polite to the open house agent but don't divulge too much about your personal situation. You don't want to compromise your bargaining position if you intend to put an offer on a house.
Here are a few tips on what to do when visiting an open house.
- Don't show your hand-Remember, the open house agent represents the seller and the brokerage wants to get the best price for their client. If you tell them too much information about your needs, financial situation or timeline, you've given away some of your bargaining power.
- If you sign in, expect to be contacted by an agent who works for the listing brokerage-The sign-in sheet is frequently used to collect the names, phone numbers and email addresses of potential buyers. Often the agent at the open house is there to gain more buyer clients. If you have an agent or are working with a true buyers agent, tell the agent you are already represented and you do not have to sign in.
- Ask the agent before taking pictures-In many cases, the house you're visiting is someone private residence. Pictures of the bedroom and bathroom could inadvertently show personal items and products not meant for the public.
- Listen to other conversations, particularly if they involve neighbors-You can learn a lot about a neighborhood, community and even the HOA just by listening to what the locals say. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor and ask them about the community.
- Look but don't touch-You wouldn't want to break a family heirloom or be accused of stealing so keep a close eye on your children and don't touch any personal items.
Remember, at an open house you are gathering information about the property. Don't talk about yourself or your home search. Keep focused on the property and ask lots of questions but do not provide too much personal information. Happy house hunting!
4849 Rugby Avenue Bethesda Maryland 20814 office 301.657.1475 cell 301.922.1677
Victoria Henderson is Vice President & Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Victoria is a certified Military Relocation Professional
Marshall Henderson is a Certified Negotiation Expert & Exclusive Buyer Agent with Buyer's Edge & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC
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