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Visit an Open House - Even if You're Not Buying

Go To Open Houses for InspirationAfter a seller has staged their home and listed it on the market, it’s likely their real estate agent will recommend holding an open house. Potential home buyers flock open houses for a chance to get a peek inside the closets and stroll through the rooms.
 
But not everyone who attends is looking to buy. Open houses present good opportunities - other than the obvious - if you’re willing to devote a few hours out of your weekend to them.
 
Learn from listing agents
Would-be sellers and nearby homeowners represent a large portion of open house traffic. You can use the open house not only to see what’s for sale and the price of comparable homes, but also to learn about the market.
 
Pick the brain of the listing agent to get a take on what’s happening in your area. Agents tend to be aware of market changes well before the mainstream press.
 
Check out home design trends
Sellers generally put their best foot forward. Some go as far as making cosmetic updates and design/staging changes before putting their homes on the market. If you’re planning to list a home that needs updating, or you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to choosing paint colors, counter-tops or bath fixtures, going to open houses will allow you to see the latest styles and designs. Even if you’re not looking to sell, you may get some design inspiration to make your home feel like new.
 
Get referrals for contractors or designers
Want to be connected to a good local designer or contractor? Ask the real estate agent if they can get you the contact information.
 
Although getting referrals from friends is also a good idea, seeing the finished product in an open house can inspire you to replicate what that owner did, and how they did it.

What do you look for in open houses? Share in the comments.

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