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Six Ways for Buyers to Maximize Their Time at an Open House

Traditional home-buying methods such as open houses are important, especially in hot markets. In areas where inventory is low and demand is high, even a weekday morning open house can draw a crowd. Trulia offers six suggestions on how to conquer the open-house hordes and come out with an accepted offer in hand.

1. Request a private home tour before the open house

Private showings are good for buyers who want to take their time and inspect a property. Ask your agent to snag an appointment before crowds of other buyers get in the front door. To capitalize on your private showing, be sure to make a compelling offer on the home. That way, the seller will compare all other offers against your benchmark.

2. Get friendly with the seller’s agent

Whether you hit up an open house or schedule a private showing, if you’re really interested in a property, use your time on-site to create a sincere rapport with the seller’s agent. It could give you an edge in scoring the home. Chatting up the listing agent at the open house can get you a lot of important info, but it may be a little harder to get access if there are large crowds or other serious buyers.

3. Get to the open house first

To gather important insights and establish rapport with the listing agent, get to the open house first. You may not have the listing agent’s undivided attention, but you can still get some face time and a chance to make a good impression. Arriving promptly is a great way to show that you’re serious about a home. Bonus: You’ll also improve your chances of seeing the house without a big crowd.

4. Take advantage of open houses on weekdays

When you’re interested in a property, attending the open house—especially if it’s midday or during happy hour on a workday—can give you even more important clues. Even a head start of a day or two before a weekend open house can give you a chance to get your offer in before the crowds have even seen it—a huge advantage.

5. Explore the neighborhood around the home

Since you’re not just buying a home—you’re buying a neighborhood, too—you should plan to explore the surroundings as well. Plan a drive-by on a weekday morning or evening. Visit the home during rush hour or drive there from your office to find out what the commute is really like. Take in the neighborhood vibes during the evening. Are there local stores and restaurants you see yourself walking to after work? Park the car nearby and get out to walk around. Note if there are any parks nearby. If you realize the neighborhood isn’t the right fit for you, you might be able to cross the house off your list. If you love the neighborhood, you’ll be one big step closer to submitting your best offer.

6. Keep excitement about the home for sale to a minimum

It’s important to realize that buyers will be there to scope out their competition and get a read on the level of interest in the house. Be sure to keep your excitement under wraps and save the celebrating for when your offer is accepted. On the other hand, you can pay attention to what other people are doing. Do they look serious? Are they examining the details? Are they asking the agent questions about the home?