6 Things You’ll Overhear at an Open House That Might Persuade You to Buy…or Run

6 Things You'll Overhear at an Open House

When attending an open house, it’s easy to get caught up in how you might decorate the bedrooms if the home were yours.

Or maybe you’re wondering if there’s a fireplace to cozy up to on those crisp fall nights?

While you do need to try and imagine yourself in the home and to determine if it works for you, you should never ignore what’s going on around you.

In fact, the chit-chat you overhear sometimes can help you decide whether to follow through and make an offer or to forget about the home altogether.

Here, Realtor.com tells you some of the chatter to pay attention to at an open house.


  1. The owners are flexible on price

That usually means the home can and will be sold for less than the asking price. If you’re serious about making an offer, use this nugget of info to your advantage. Take a closer look around the property with a critical eye. Do the kitchen appliances need updating? Is the backyard in need of landscaping? Now that you know the homeowner’s in a selling mood, you’re in a perfect position to submit a low bid. Any repairs and issues will give you leverage to negotiate.


  1. What’s that smell in the basement?

This could be the sign of a big problem. If you overhear visitors discussing a specific issue—such as a damp smell in the basement, or maybe evidence of termites in the attic—you could use this as leverage when writing an offer. Or it may be enough for you to decide you don’t want to take on a potential problem. And if other visitors are talking about it, then the problem is probably big enough to cause headaches.


  1. Wow, the sellers are getting out just in time

Translation: The neighborhood could be on the decline. When you attend an open house, never just zero in on the home itself. Get a feel for the community as well by really listening to what the community is saying. Since open houses tend to attract curious neighbors, they can be the ideal setting for a potential buyer to find out about hot-button issues, such as future development, traffic, area crime or neighborhood nuisances. For example, if you’re looking for a home in a relatively quiet neighborhood, you might be grateful to find out about the new six-lane highway that’s slated to go up a half-mile away.


  1. This price is way too high

Always work with your agent and research what other homes in the neighborhood are going for. Although the price of the home you’re looking at might seem high, that doesn’t mean it’s not fair market value for the neighborhood. That’s why it’s crucial to check comps—the data on what other similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for—and to make sure the house you’re touring lines up. If it still seems high, don’t run for the hills just yet. Consider adjusting your bid accordingly.


  1. Sweet, our couch would fit perfectly in here!

This means you have competition. Interested homebuyers will often travel through the home slowly and intently, using phrases such as ‘Our living room set would fit perfectly’ or ‘Do you think our bed would look good in this room?’ These are clear indicators that they’re thinking about putting in an offer. So, if you can see yourself living in that house, too, you’d better act fast.


  1. The words foreclosure’ or ‘divorce

In this case, the sellers’ misfortune could work in your favor. If you hear the word foreclosure, then you should pay attention. The homeowners may be open to selling it for less than they want to, due to time restrictions. Divorce is another word to listen for, because if the owners are splitting up or need to split their assets, it’s likely that they don’t want to hang onto the home too long.


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