Open House Checklist: 5 Things You Need to Bring With You

Going to your first open house? Write up an open house checklist and include these five things you need to bring with you.

The home buying market has been heating up for quite a while, even during the pandemic.

Homebuyers realized that they no longer need to live in big cities to work. They can work remotely, and they’re heading to the suburbs.

On top of that, there aren’t many new listings. That’s driving up home prices and making buying a home very competitive. There have been at least four offers on each home sold in February 2021, which is usually a much slower month.

An open house checklist will help you be prepared to beat the competition and get your offer accepted. Read on to learn what you need to do before and during the open house to make your offer count.

1. Bring Your Own Checklist

You make a purchase on emotion, even for a purchase as large as a home purchase. You can find one aspect about the home amazing and fall in love with it.

You then put an offer on it and buy the home, only to discover that it really didn’t fit your needs. You can avoid this situation by creating a checklist for your wants and needs.

List out things that you must have in a home. Then have a list of things that are nice to have, but not necessary. You should also list out items that are dealbreakers.

2. Have a List of Questions

You probably have an idea in your head in terms of what you want to ask about a home. There’s always one important question that you’ll forget.

You should have a list of questions ready to go to ask the selling agent hosting the open house.

You’ll want to know if there were recent renovations. You’ll also want to know how long the homeowners have been in the home.

Prepare a list of questions in advance so you don’t miss anything.

3. A Quick Home Inspection List

Let’s say that you do put an offer on the house and it gets accepted. It still has to be inspected before the deal closes.

The inspection is important because it reveals any structural damage to the home. This can cause a deal to fall through.

Look at how the home is staged. Did the buyer go out of their way to stage the home? It’s a good sign that they want to sell fast. You can discover more to see what buyers should do to stage a home to sell.

Also, look for things like cracks in the foundation, missing or broken roof shingles, and water stains in the ceiling. These are signs that there are major issues with the home.

Do you feel like you have too many lists to carry around? You can organize them in a binder and take that with you to the open house.

4. Open House Supplies

You want to be respectful when you go through someone else’s home. You should bring a set of booties to go over your shoes.

Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, hand sanitizer and PPE are good to have on-hand as well.

You’ll also want to bring a tape measure to get a sense of room sizes to see if the space works well for your needs.

5. Be Ready to Make a Good Impression

Seller’s agents will try to pre-qualify buyers as soon as they come into the house. They’ll introduce themselves and ask you a few questions.

They want to make sure that if you put in an offer, that your offer won’t waste their time. They’ll start with your appearance.

You want to dress the part of someone who can make a home purchase. You don’t need to show up in a suit and tie, but you don’t want to show up in sweatpants or pajamas, either.

A business casual look is just fine for an open house. Dressing like it’s “Jeans Day” at your office works as well.

What to Do Before the Open House

Now that you know what to take with you to the open house, there are a few things that you should do before you leave for the open house.

If you’re at this stage of the home buying process, you should have a pre-approval letter for a home loan.

This means that a lender already looked at your income, credit scores, and they pre-approved you for a loan amount. That will make it much easier to shop for homes and to get the loan approved.

Remember that there’s a difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved. Pre-qualified means that the lender did a soft credit check to estimate how much you can get a loan for. Pre-approved means the lender did much of its due diligence to approve you for a loan.

If you didn’t take this step yet, you need to do so before you go to your first open house.  

Put your real estate agent on standby if they’re not going to the open house with you. Let them know that you’re attending the open house and they may need to put in an offer as soon as possible.

That can help you with your timing and get your offer in before other open house attendees.

You also want to find a babysitter for the kids before the open house. That gives you a chance to think about the property and look at it without distractions.

If you’re making your kids part of the purchasing decision, you can always bring a camera and show them pictures later.

The Only Open House Checklist You’ll Need

When you’re trying to buy a home in a competitive buying market, you need to be organized and have everything in place before you walk into an open house.

This open house checklist helps you think of everything in advance. You know what to do, from prepping your needs and wants list to getting a babysitter for the kids.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the other articles on this site to help you create the perfect home.

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