Cost – FREE!
Everyone likes to dream about their future, and we’re no different. We love to dream about the kind of house we’ll live in some day. So we decided to put on our grown-up hats and go to some open houses. Though we were anxious at first, we had nothing to lose since the whole afternoon didn’t cost a penny.
When I was a little kid I loved looking at floor plans and attempting to design my dream home with Lego. I relished in the task of laying the foundations of the mansion that I believed would one day be my safe haven. I no longer want a mansion, but I still quite enjoy roaming through the homes of others if for nothing more than simple inspiration.
Before this outing I had been to a few open houses with people actually capable of buying a nice house and loved it. Since we were with other people it was easy to slip off and explore the house while they did the talking.
Heading out on your own is a whole other ball game, which is why I was a bit anxious going into it. What if they looked down their noses at us and hammered us with questions? What if they laughed in our faces? Thankfully none of these things happened.
It was a bit awkward at times, but I don’t think it had anything to do with us specifically. It’s just the nature of the situation. You arrive at someone’s house and there’s someone else there trying to sell you something that you know you’re not necessarily interested in buying but have to act like you are. I find that nerve wracking, so I usually dart from the main entrance and leave Brad to bold face lie to all of the realtors.
All awkwardness aside, it was a fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. We managed to see 5 houses in the run of 2 hours. I quite enjoyed seeing what’s out there in various price ranges for different areas. It really gave us a feel for what type of space we want in the future to suit our needs and what style house we like. Some homes were in dire need of upgrading while others showed beautifully and even inspired décor and paint ideas – I think I see home reno projects in our future for March Break!
This past Sunday was the perfect day to get out of the house as it was one of the first spring-like days here in Nova Scotia. As we headed out the door, Susan began to panic. She was frantically telling me that I had to do the talking, and obsessing over how we both look way too young to be home buyers. I assured her that everything would be fine.
We walked into the first house and the awkwardness began. We were the only ones looking through the house, so it was just us and the real estate agent. Oh boy… As we began walking through the house, I felt as though she could hear every word we were saying. It was like being in a library where no one is saying a word, just silently going about their business. That was us. After looking through the house, we bolted as quickly as possible to avoid any personal questions.
As it turned out, we were the only ones looking through almost every house we went to. However, we really got a good feel for how each real estate agent does things. One guy gave out cookies, while one lady was super friendly and fun to talk to. As we saw more houses we got more and more comfortable talking to the agents and answering their questions.
Despite the anxiety from having to bluff my way through a few conversations, I had a lot of fun going through open houses. We got a much better sense of what you get for certain price ranges, as well as a better feel for what we do and don’t want in a home. It’s a totally different experience than looking through pictures of houses on MLS, which we do all the time. At each open house we got a sheet with all the information about the house. So when we got home we had fun as we each ordered them from favourite to least favourite. We had quite similar reactions to the houses, which hopefully means it won’t be too hard to agree on what we want in a house when the time comes for us to buy a house.
Before we left the house, Susan looked up the addresses to several open houses online. I fully intended to randomly drive around the neighbourhood until I saw an open house sign. So depending on your spontaneity level, you can try either one of those methods.
I really enjoyed going to open houses. It was tough to work up the confidence at first, but after a few tries we started to get the hang of it. If you’re looking for something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon, give open houses a try. For some added fun, dress up nicely, go through some super expensive homes, and pretend you can actually afford it. You’ll have fun, dream a little, and best of all spend nothing.