Kate Hogan -Amherst, MA real estate, Hadley, MA real estate, Northampton, MA real estate
Kate Hogan - Amherst MA Realtor


Open houses can be a great way to get to know a home and the neighborhood it sits in. Sure, the seller will be trying to put their best foot forward on the big day. But, you’ll still be able to get a chance to tour the home relatively uninterrupted.

But what should you look for in particular when attending an open house?

There are a number of things you can learn at an open house. Many prospective buyers spend the time looking at things like paint color and cosmetic touches that can easily be changed, and very little time considering important factors that should go into their home buying decision.

So, in today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the lesser known things you should be looking out for when you attend an open house. That way, you’ll know which houses are worth considering further and which ones should be left behind.

Not enough storage space

If you find yourself constantly running out of storage space (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to make sure the home has ample space to store your belongings. If it doesn’t, see if you can find ways to repurpose areas for storage, such as spare bedrooms or garage space.

Overly scented areas

It’s perfectly normal for a seller’s agent to place one or two choice candles in the home during an open house.

However, if you notice some rooms have an overpowering smell of candles or air fresheners, there’s a good chance it’s there to mask offensive and hard to remove smells. Pet and cigarette odors are among the worst culprits.

The windows, doors, and cabinets should work like a dream

When attending an open house, take note of how well the doors open and close. If appropriate, ask the seller’s agent if you can try out the windows and cabinets as well.

Problems with these items can be signs of poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, or neglect.

Traffic and neighbors

If you’ve found what you think is the perfect home, it can be easy to see the world through rose-colored lenses.

However, it’s important to take them off when looking around the yard. Take note of the traffic level, and the amount of privacy the home receives. If you like the home, it’s also a good idea to stop by the neighborhood during rush house to gauge how traffic would affect your commute.

Air flow issues

Improper ventilation can lead to mold growth, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure bathroom vents and fans work properly, and check windows for condensation.

In rooms with sinks, check around the base of the sink and counter for signs of water damage or mold.

Large cracks in foundations or ceilings

While small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a home are completely normal, large ones can be dangerous.

They can allow water and pests to enter the home, causing all types of costly damages.


Keep those six tips in mind when you attend the open house, and be sure to bring a list of any other questions you might have for the seller’s agent.


Buying a house can be simple, particularly for those who craft a blueprint before they embark on the property buying journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying blueprint.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The housing market varies in cities and towns across the United States. However, if you analyze the local real estate sector closely, you can map out a successful property buying journey.

Assess the prices of recently sold residences and find out how long these homes were available before they sold. That way, you can determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is in place.

Remember, the more housing market data you review, the more equipped you'll be to understand the current state of the local housing sector. And if you allocate time and resources to analyze housing market data, you can gain the insights you need to make informed decisions throughout the property buying cycle.

2. Establish Homebuying Criteria

Create a list of homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. Because once you know what you want to find in your dream home, you can narrow your house search.

As you put together homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside too. This will enable you to hone your home search to preferred cities and towns.

Don't forget to consider your short- and long-term plans as you craft your homebuying criteria as well. For instance, if your goal is to work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to start a family soon, you may want to explore residences near the top schools in your area.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to craft a homebuying blueprint, there is no need to worry. Real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you put together a homebuying plan.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is happy to teach you everything you need to know about buying a residence. He or she also will respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions.

In addition, a real estate agent will act as a guide along the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about your homebuying criteria and goals and help you put together a property buying plan. Next, a real estate agent will help you search for your dream residence and set up property showings. And once you discover a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

For those who want to achieve the optimal results during the property buying journey, it generally is a good idea to create a homebuying blueprint. By using the aforementioned tips, you can craft a homebuying blueprint so you can achieve your desired homebuying results.


As a homebuyer, you likely will want to do everything possible to secure your dream house at a budget-friendly price. Yet for those who are dealing with an aggressive property seller, achieving the optimal results may prove to be challenging.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the homebuying process so you can acquire your ideal residence at an affordable price – even if you're forced to deal with an aggressive home seller.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you deal with an aggressive property seller and accomplish your desired homebuying results.

1. Remain Patient

It may be tough to deal with an aggressive home seller at times, but those who stay the course can buy a house that matches or exceeds their expectations.

Remember, a patient homebuyer generally is a happy homebuyer. If a buyer avoids rash decisions and remains calm, cool and collected when dealing with an aggressive seller, he or she can boost the likelihood of making the best-possible choices throughout the property buying journey.

2. Focused on Your Desired Results

The ultimate goal of the homebuying journey is to find and buy a house that you can enjoy for years to come. In some instances, an aggressive seller may make it difficult for you to accomplish your goal. But if you prioritize the end results of the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than others to secure a terrific residence.

If you focus on the big picture, you may be able to reduce the risk that minor issues with an aggressive home seller could slow down the property buying journey. And if you do whatever it takes to achieve your desired homebuying results, you may be able to find unique solutions to various problems.

Don't forget to maintain open communication with a seller. If you open the lines of communication with a seller, both you and a seller can work together to ensure all parties are satisfied with the results of a home sale.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to deal with an aggressive seller, you may want to hire a real estate agent. That way, you'll have an expert negotiator at your disposal.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller and his or her agent on your behalf. By doing so, a real estate agent will minimize the risk of potential property buying delays.

Let's not forget about the frequent updates that a real estate agent provides during a negotiation with a property seller, either. A real estate agent will keep you informed about seller negotiations and ensure you can move along the homebuying cycle. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at your convenience.

Manage the homebuying journey like never before – use the aforementioned tips, and you can avoid the headaches commonly associated with dealing with an aggressive property seller.


Ready to buy a condo? With help from an expert real estate agent, you can make your condo ownership dreams come true.

An expert real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can purchase a top-notch condo at an unbeatable price. In addition, this real estate professional will make it easy to discover a superior condo without delay.

Ultimately, an expert real estate agent can make a world of difference during a condo search. But it is important to note that there are many factors to consider as you evaluate a real estate agentl.

Key factors that a condo buyer should consider when he or she assesses a real estate agent include:

1. Industry Experience

How many years has a real estate agent worked with condo buyers? Has a real estate agent been successful in his or her efforts to help condo buyers? And how will this housing market professional handle difficult negotiations with a condo seller? These are some of the questions to consider as you examine a real estate agent's industry experience.

When it comes to assessing a real estate agent, industry experience is key. A real estate professional who understands the ins and outs of buying a condo should have no trouble helping you purchase a superb property that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Communication Skills

How a real estate agent communicates with his or her clients says a lot about this professional.

If a real estate agent strives to stay in touch with clients via text, phone and email, this housing market professional likely will be able to keep a condo buyer informed at each stage of the property buying cycle.

On the other hand, a real estate agent who fails to prioritize effective communication may struggle to help a condo buyer. This housing market professional may be unavailable if a condo buyer has concerns or questions. As a result, a condo buyer is unlikely to get the support that he or she needs to make an informed property buying decision.

Meeting directly with a real estate agent can give you a better idea about his or her communication skills. If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face discussion, you may want to consider moving forward with this housing market professional.

3. Client Referrals

What are previous condo buyers saying about a real estate agent? Request client referrals from a real estate agent, and you can find out how he or she has supported condo buyers in the past.

Client referrals enable you to understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent and can provide you with insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Moreover, client referrals can help you accelerate the process of choosing the right real estate agent to guide you along the condo buying journey.

For condo buyers, there is no need to worry as you prepare to enter the housing market. Instead, use these tips, and you can find a first-rate real estate agent who will ensure you can purchase your dream condo.


The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Be Diligent

A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.

2. Know Where You Want to Go

Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.

Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.

Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.




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