Could This Be The One? Why Open Houses Are Like First Dates
You have finally plucked up the courage.
You’ve made the dreaded phone call and now you are all set up to see other houses.
You have convinced yourself that you aren’t exactly cheating on your old house!
You are just “looking at prospects”, “broadening your horizons” and “seeing what’s out there.”
Oh – screw it: open houses, here I come!
Nevertheless, as your appointment with the real estate agent approaches, you can’t get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, as you wonder what these new houses will represent for your future!
Understandably, you don’t want to put too much pressure on that first open house, but perhaps today will be your day!
Heck, you might find the house to which you can commit for the rest of your life – the one that in which you could raise your children, and grow old sitting on the porch…
But first, let’s get through the first viewing!
As you embark on this exciting journey, here are 9 reminders why open houses are a lot like first dates:
Reminder #1 — You’ve got to play the field!
You don’t have to buy the first house you see.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing the field a bit here.
First of all, doing a few more open houses should give you a sense of:
- what else is out there;
- what your financial bracket can afford you in different areas; and
- assurance that the house you first saw is actually as wonderful as you thought it was!
Just remember that well-priced houses in good areas (like good men) are quickly snapped up, so you will need to decide fairly quickly if this is something you are really interested in, and make your feelings known to your real estate agent, in no uncertain terms.
Reminder #2 — You definitely need a good “wingman”!
Your real estate agent is your new best friend.
You need a bro who’s looking out for you.
Or, as any savvy single girl knows, post-date dissection is a vital part of the whole event.
Your real estate agent will become a vital source of information about not only the open house itself, but the surrounding areas, and a sounding board for all of your queries, concerns, and future ideas.
Think of your real estate agent as a matchmaker:
They benefit when you are most happy and satisfied and when they have matched you with the correct house.
Pretty much a house that corresponds to your list of requirements at the ideal cost.
Bear in mind, though they will do their best, as with the dating scene, compromises may have to be made on your part so that you end up with the house of your dreams.
I know very few people who married someone who had all the credentials on their wish list, but they certainly fulfilled many of them!
Remember, as you would do with your best friend, you can absolutely “let your ugly hang out”.
Tell them what you liked and what you didn’t like.
You will not offend your real estate agent.
They are working hard at getting exactly what you want, and they need to know your preferences in order to narrow down the search.
Reminder #3 — It’s highly recommended you go on a second date!
If the first date went great and you are starting to feel like you can see a long-term commitment happening, a second date is naturally recommended.
The first viewing jitters are over!
As with a second date, you are able to, for the first time perhaps, see some of the house’s flaws.
It gives you a chance to make sure your excitement hasn’t overpowered your practical mind.
It is also encouraged to take someone observant and impartial with you.
They are often able to help you to see if this is actually the house to which you want to commit.
Remember that this may be a house that you are in for many years and you need to weigh the initial cost with that of any renovations that will still need to be done.
Perhaps getting back to your wishlist, it would be helpful to know going in whether you want a house that requires no work (but that you would probably pay more for), or if you are happy to go in at a lower price, but then work on the place over the years as you are able to.
Unlike meeting someone new, it is often easy to fix up some of those initial flaws you come across!
All it takes is some time, attention and budget.
If you have all three to give, then you might decide to go for it!
It is also a reason to remain flexible as you search.
Sometimes walking through an open house doesn’t give you the right vibes, but with an updated kitchen and bathrooms, and a lick of paint and some landscaping, it can be completely transformed for comparatively little investment, time and inconvenience.
Reminder #4 — Remember that what’s on the inside is far more important than the outside!
This is absolutely a bankable mantra for the dating world and house hunting should be no different!
You might meet a perfect 10, at face value, whom you can’t wait to show off to your friends – but end up cringing whenever s/he opens their mouth!
In the same way, the open house might go very well, may look amazing on the outside and seem to be everything you have always wanted, but if it is rotting (or has termites) at the core, has mould, is falling down or has faulty wiring, you may want to sit this one out.
Here is another area in which an earnest pow-pow with your real estate agent (your new BFF), and your extra-pair-of-eyes-friend, should help you to weed out serious or structural issues, as opposed to simple problems such as “I need a good exterminator!” or “This area needs new carpets”.
Again, you need to consider your budget and time constraints.
You never want to commit to a house that will give you more problems in the long run than joy (unless you have a thing for “broken” houses and want to be part of their trip to redemption).
Also, bear in mind that the opposite is also true: just because a house has zero curb appeal and the wallpaper dates back to when your (grand)parents got married, this doesn’t mean that with a little bit of elbow grease and a few coats of paint, the first-date-disaster can’t become a lifelong-gorgeous-relationship.
Reminder #5 — A house in a great area always beats one from the “wrong side of the tracks”!
Ladies, as much as we all love a bad boy, unfortunately, they just aren’t good for you and houses are just the same.
If you buy an average (or even run-down) house in a good area, you generally stand the chance of it increasing in value far quicker (especially if you work at upgrading it) than buying a great house in a “not-so-great” area.
As you view open houses, it is a good idea to train yourself to think not only about this time as you are preparing to move in but also to think about when you want to sell that house in the future.
It makes far more sense to buy in an area where people want to buy in, with good infrastructure in the surrounds, and amenities like reputable schools, parks, shopping centres etc.
Much rather go that route than trying to offload a property at a later stage, in an area where people are struggling to sell – one in which everybody wants to move out, and no one wants to move in!
Reminder #6 — Now’s a good time to think carefully about your life goals!
We have all had it before, you meet Mr/Miss Right, but then they turned out to only be Mr/ Miss Right Now.
When you look at a property, along with taking your budget into account, you need to factor in where you want to end up and what you want your lifestyle to look like.
An amazing bachelor pad, that is full of glass and overlooks the nightlife of the city and is close to all the major clubs and restaurants, maybe fabulous in your Tornado Twenties, but as your home is a major monetary investment, you will need to consider the years ahead of you.
Especially if the introduction of children is something that’s going to happen sooner rather than later!
It may be wise to buy something with a few bedrooms, for when the in-laws visit, or when you get down to having sproglets.
As fabulous as a Zen garden is, you may also want to find a house with a patch of grass for the ensuing sproglets and the inevitable puppies that they adopt (believe me – you’re saying “No, no, never!” right now, but it’s going to happen! Been there, done that!).
It is true that title deeds are not written in stone, and you can absolutely start the house hunting process again when life plans change.
Nonetheless, these considerations are important to bear in mind as you are making your decisions, as home buyer mistakes in this regard can cost you both time and money, and can be a source of regret for many years to come!
Like getting involved with the wrong person!
Reminder #7 — Please, always let someone know where you’re going!
As with any first date protocol, a friend who can get you out of there if things go pear-shaped, is always prudent.
We recommend going with a trusted real estate agent or friend as mentioned above.
Perhaps the worst thing you can do, especially in this day and age of online surfing, is to make a private appointment to view a house and then charge off alone to see it.
It is just not wise.
Besides which, going with your real estate agent will give you an even better insight into the house and area as mentioned above.
This is an incredibly unfortunate point I do need to mention in an otherwise light, tongue-in-cheek blog post – but it may save you some tragedy!
Reminder #8 — As with any first date, remember to keep your time open and flexible!
Some first-daters like to have an escape route on the first date and schedule some or other excuse, in order to cut the date short.
This can backfire if you are having a lovely time!
You may love the house and want to spend a little more time there, so try not to schedule another appointment straight after the viewing.
It may even help to go with your real estate agent if you are seeing a number of properties back-to-back, in order to cut out unnecessary driving, since they already know where the open houses are and how to get there.
Reminder #9 — Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy the process!
You never know when you may open the door to the open house, which turns out to be the home of your dreams!
You will need to remember to be critical, but not overly so; be firm, but also flexible.
That open house may not look exactly as you have in your mind, but perhaps through a few good years with you, it could be upgraded into something others will be envious of (my wife told me to add this part for some odd reason).
Remember to give every new place a chance and to look at both the positives and the negatives of every home.
There is nothing like seeing a few open houses in order to help you narrow down what characteristics you are unwilling to compromise on, and what you expect from a home over the years you live in it.
I wish you every success in your home buying endeavour.
May you find your forever home, and as you both age together, may you enjoy every milestone that you celebrate together, every family member added and every alteration embarked upon.
May you have a lifetime of fun and laughter as your house becomes a home.
Other Open House Related Articles:
- Should You Allow A Real Estate Open House via Debbie Drummond
- Is A Real Estate Open House Necessary To Sell Homes via Bill Gassett
- The Pros And Cons Of Open Houses via Kyle Hiscock
- The Guide To Open Houses via Storify
— Xavier De Buck (@XavierDeBuck) August 31, 2016
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About the author: The above article “9 Reminders Why Open Houses Are A Lot Like First Dates” was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.
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