Open Houses – From the Perspective of a First Time Homebuyer

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By Melissa Calder, Real Estate Around Philly team member

Two of the members of the Real Estate Around Philly team are currently in the middle of their search for their first home.  After working with real estate professional Jen Colahan first-hand, it was a no brainer for them to want to use Jen as their realtor. The following blog series is a first hand story about searching for the perfect first home.

Open House Reality
Open Houses are all so different. As a first time home seeker I didn’t know what to expect walking into my first open house. I honestly was hoping they were all like the open houses I see on the Bravo reality shows, where there is good food and a social scene of who’s who in the neighborhood.

However, the “real reality” of going to open houses has been full of both highs and lows. In one Sunday, I fell in love, got mad, and ran away from a house that had duct tape on the front door, and cried from fear that I would never find anything. But the search must go on!

Why We Chose Jen
Our decision to use Jen Colahan as our realtor was quickly validated for us after just one weekend of dealing with other agents at open houses. Sometimes the real estate agent showing the house is nice and casual, but others follow you around like a desperate sales person. Some real estate agents offer lots of information and others are quiet as can be and the only words out of their mouths are “the sign in sheet is in the kitchen.”  We have found that he best real estate agents have answered questions with substantial information (not pushy) and allowed us to wonder throughout the home on our own so that we can have genuine reactions to the property.

They Want Me To Take Off My Shoes In This Dump?
I even went to an open house where I was required to take off my shoes and there was a giant bear statue at the front door. Shoes are one thing, but who has a giant bear statue in their home during a showing? Most homes have been tasteful; many have been full of tacky home photos. “Don’t they watch HGTV?”

Let’s Talk About Wood Paneling
Also, if you have wood paneling throughout your entire house, expect some low offers unless the people buying your house are coming in with the Property Brothers or you better have an awesome kitchen or backyard to make up for the ugly paneling that is from 40 years ago. Really, in 40 years you were not able to do something about it? Oh also, if you have a bobble head collection of hundreds; hide it and don’t display it in your living room.

The home search continues on and I want to find something that I can call my home, not your home. So if you are selling your home ask your realtor advice on staging, which includes taking down all of the personal photos in your home.