Chalk it up to allergies: Spring makes people itchy to move. To help match buyers and sellers, Realtors’ associations are sponsoring the third annual Nationwide Open House (Realtor.org/topics/nationwideopenhouse). On April 28 and 29, sellers across the country will open their homes, making it easier for buyers to check out multiple properties. Organizers expect 3,100 open houses in the Mid-Atlantic region, with 215 in the District alone, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Members of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) and the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors are hosting in the D.C. area. We asked NVAR’s Jill Landsman to help buyers navigate the terrain.
Why is this time of year busy for the real estate market?
People are planning ahead. They look to move 30, 60 or 90 days later and with the fact that schools close in June, people think, “Let’s let our children finish out the school year and we’ll move in the summer.”
Is it really a good time to sell?
If you look at the real estate data in Northern Virginia, all the metrics are up. The only metric that’s not really up a lot is number of houses on the market. We do have year-over-year gains in the number of homes sold and year-over-year gains in the average sale price, which is a trend that shows a positive local economy.
Why hold an open house?
The main reason Realtors recommend an open house is to create traffic, and there is a good chance that people will have an opportunity to fall in love with a property and really know the neighborhood. You can go and do a virtual tour online any time of the day, but you’re not getting a sense of the neighborhood.
With so many open houses, is it possible to overdo it?
If you looked at too many houses, at the end of the day, you’re not going to remember. Make your list at the beginning of the day for which houses you want to tour and try and create a plan that makes sense to get to them so that you have a strategy and a logic to the sequence of the homes.
How else can buyers prepare?
Take notes and make sure you note what you liked and didn’t like about a home. What each prospective buyer needs to do is study the neighborhood, and then if they really love what’s available in the neighborhood, then you drill down on “Does this house meet my needs and requirements?” There’s always going to have to be a little bit of compromise because nothing in life is perfect.