March has ushered in the home buying season in full force, and April promises to be just as strong. This notoriously busy season for the housing market kicked off-last month with record-low inventories, pent-up demand and growing seller optimism. As a result, buyers nationwide are finding that speed and efficiency are key to landing the home of their dreams.
This April is Open House Month, and both buyers and sellers are looking to put their best foot forward. Open houses give consumers the chance to imagine themselves in a potential home, and almost try-it-on-for-size, while sellers can use them to showcase the most enticing selling points of a property. Either way, with such a competitive landscape, it’s important that both parties take careful steps to maximize opportunities during an open house.
As a buyer in an accelerating market, the first step is to prepare. From researching homes in advance to using mobile apps to prioritizing your wish list of features, the following tips will help you hit the ground running when you pound the pavement this spring.
Search often and early. Get an edge on the competition by searching for listings before you set out for open houses. Because the vast majority of open houses occur on the weekend, use weekdays to kick start your home search. To get access to the most accurate database of homes for sale, turn toward online and mobile resources to help you search for listings that meet your criteria.
Know your parameters. Research and define your list of “must have” features. This could include the number of bedrooms, price range, location or specific amenities, such as a pool or extra storage. Explore areas you’re interested in and plan your itinerary around necessary features. Once you have a list of homes with the parameters you need, map out your tour using the addresses and times of the open houses. Feel free to use the interactive tool listed on realtor.com’s Open House Month website that allows you to map out your open house weekend.
Keep notes and rank homes. Touring several homes in one day can be overwhelming, so be sure to jot down details about each house as you attend. Use a notepad or mobile app to log. Perhaps you like the floor plan but not the location of a particular property. Note those particulars, so homes don’t blend together at the end of a long day. To stay focused, rank homes throughout the day according to preference.
Save listings and set up alerts. After you’ve completed a few open houses, save your favorite listings on a mobile app so you can track a property’s status on-the-go. The realtor.com mobile app is a great resource for receiving price change alerts and to send saved listings to your real estate agent and family for feedback.
After a few open houses, you’ll gain a better understanding of the market and be a seasoned house hunter. Remember to get your finances ready and act quickly to land the home of your dreams. Happy searching!
Written by: Alison Schwartz is the Vice President of Corporate Communications at Move, Inc., Published in Forbes.