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How Open Houses And Solo Showings Affect Buying Decisions

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Buying a house is a competitive process in many areas now, and as a buyer, you need to see a house as soon as you can in order to make an offer before anyone else. You'll have a choice between a couple of different types of showings--a traditional showing, where it's you and your agent; and an open house, where it's you and a lot of other people wandering through the house. Both have value, but each can also affect your decision in ways that aren't necessarily related to the specific house and its features. If you know what to expect ahead of time, you can balance out the effects.

Traditional Showings

The traditional "head to the house with the agent" showing gives you plenty of time to ask questions and to investigate the whole house. If there are specific items you want to see, you can head over to those rooms and look without worrying about crowds blocking you from the space. You also don't have to deal with other strangers wandering around in general. Chances are the agent will know a good deal about the house and you'll be able to get information when you need it, rather than competing with other people for the agent's attention.

At the same time, that one-on-one attention means the agent's attention will be focused solely on you. And that agent's presence (or agents, if you've got both the listing agent and your own agent there) may make you feel a bit pressured. That's not necessarily due to the agent's behavior--buyers can feel that pressure simply because the agent is there, even if the agent is doing her best to be unobtrusive.

Open Houses

An open house, though, avoids that agent pressure. Yes, there can be open houses where you're the only one who shows up, but chances are that there will be other people there. The additional crowds can do a lot to remove the sense that the agent is waiting to swoop in and pressure you to buy the house (again, that impression is usually a misconception on the part of the buyer).

However, those crowds also mean you have a lot more competition for buying the house. There may be a tendency to offer more than you were willing to pay or to make an offer you weren't planning to make just because you got swept up in the moment. You may also find it a lot harder to ask questions about the house because everyone is swamped with questions from other potential buyers.

If you just want a chance to look around and can control the urge to compete beyond your means, an open house can be a good way to see what the market is like. A tradtitional showing, though, is better if you are really on the hunt for a house and want to be sure that you know what you're getting.

When you look for a real estate agent to help you out, ask about that agent's ability to hold regular showings in a hot market instead of relying on open houses. You need someone who offers the mix of showings that's right for you. If you're looking to buy and need a real estate agent or have any questions, contact a real estate company like Century Title Of Oklahoma