Hadley and Sally’s Open House Adventure-Part 1
When we last left Hadley, our home-buyer, and Sally, her impetuous friend, they were planning to attend some open houses. “Sally”, Hadley pointed out, “not all the websites I have been using have listings of which homes are open this weekend. What should we do?” “No problem, Had,” Sally assured her friend, “the major company has all of the open houses on its website every weekend and I have subscribed, so I get an email every week with a complete list!”
After reviewing the photos on the open house list from “Big Company”, the two decided on 4 houses they wanted to go see. “These are the cutest ones, don’t you think?” queried Sally. “Well, they look good in these photos, at least,” agreed Hadley. But she wasn’t so sure she knew where they were located and she was concerned that none of them showed any kitchen photos. “Oh well, you have to start somewhere”, she thought. And what could be more fun than going to open houses with your best friend!
Let’s stop here and talk about the home-buying process. When buying a home, the hardest part at the beginning is remembering the Triangle of Importance. What the heck is that? Curb Appeal is one point, Location is the second point and Condition is the third.
Curb appeal is the easiest of the 3 legs of the triangle, but even an ugly house can often be significantly improved. Paint colors, adding a stone facade to part of the home, re-roofing with more interesting shingles, adding a porch–all are great ways to turn an ugly duckling into a swan.
All the seller did was clean up the landscaping and change the trim colors and mailbox.
But more important than the outside appearance is the Location. Find a home in a neighborhood, not on a busy street, preferably deep into that neighborhood (so not bordering retail or commercial) that is fairly close to a major road taking you to the places you want to go quickly. Close to a train line adds value.
The third, less sexy arm of the triangle is condition. Even a home that is priced lower because it needs work may be overpriced due to condition issues that are not obvious to most home-buyers. The rule of thumb I like to use (based on my experience buying homes that need work) is that the things you can see are less than half of what really will need fixing or improving. So look for a house that seems to have been cared for by its owner. You really want that house that the retired engineer lived in who kept a maintenance checklist and did all those little things like cleaning the gutters and caulking the windows. Even if he had really bad taste in wallpaper! Trust me on this one!
So, back to Hadley and Sally, who are set to go out to open houses, having found only a portion of what is really open this weekend. If they had a good buyer’s agent, they would have access to the multiple listing service that lists ALL the homes, not just Big Company’s. So join us next time to see how they do. Sally has some great ideas about interviewing the listing agents at the open houses to see if Hadley wants to use one of them. We’ll see how that works for Hadley!
To avoid the problem of trying to find an agent and a home through open houses, use the services of an experienced, trustworthy exclusive buyer’s agent. Sage Realty is one of the ONLY exclusive agencies in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Even if you are buying in another market, ask us to refer you to the best EBA in that area. If you are a first-time home buyer, your fears will be eliminated. And if you have bought a home before, you will have a completely different experience. Contact Sage today.