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Real Estate: Open House or Private Showing­--What’s Best for You?

Jun 28, 2019 02:02PM ● By Pamela Johnson
The signs go up; the balloons go out. On any given Saturday or Sunday in the Bellingham area, there is no lack of open houses to visit. Are you planning to attend one or should you set up a personal tour? That should depend on where you are in the home-buying process.   
Open houses. I've hosted countless open houses over the past 31 years. Traffic counts have varied depending on the market, price point, condition, and location of the home. In today’s seller’s market the activity level is incredible.

What's driving all this traffic? Much of it can be attributed to lack of inventory. Exposure is better too. No longer relying solely on print media, buyers are alerted to open houses via automated email, and open houses are heavily promoted over the internet. Agents send their buyers to preview open homes because there is more flexibility with timing. Many listing agents use the open house as a kickoff to their marketing campaign to create a sense of urgency.
In this market it is crucial to view a desired home as soon as possible. With buyers flocking to open houses, is it in your best interest to attend the public viewing or set up a personal tour with your Realtor®?

The answer to that should depend on how serious a buyer you are or when you plan on buying. If you are just starting your home search, visiting an open house can be a good hands-on approach to gain market knowledge. It is also a good way of "interviewing" a potential agent to represent you. (It can also be a good way for a “potential” seller to informally interview an agent.)

If, however, you are well into your home search and have identified your wants and needs in terms of price, size, style and location, then setting up a personal tour may be much more effective for you. Why? At many open homes the traffic is so brisk that one cannot really take a good look at the home. With many people filling up a room(s), it can be hard to linger and really take in the details. You might also feel pressured or you could unknowingly undermine your negotiating position by tipping your hand to the hosting agent or to other attendees.
Seeing the home privately without all that stimulation and traffic gives you the time to really look it over and get to know the home without others looking over your shoulder.

Submitted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, Al and Cal Realty Group, ReMax Executive Realty. Tel: 508-494-9061.




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