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Open houses a big help to prospective buyers

November 20, 2010
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

As the winter season arrives, more and more people will be out and about contemplating the decision to buy a home. Many have performed their on-line searches but could not get a real feel for the flow of a home through pictures posted on the Internet. Visiting open houses is a great way to become familiar with not only the neighborhood, but an opportunity to talk to the agent who represents the property.

Open houses allow the prospective purchaser to walk through the home, visualizing how their furniture will fit, and there's nothing better than physically seeing the details, such as coffered and tray ceilings, lighting and other attributes that could help make the buying decision easier. Asking questions of the agent about schools, taxes, and neighborhood amenities can put the buyers at ease and allows them to either dismiss the property, or jump at the opportunity to write an offer.

Many prospects search the real estate websites by prices, only to find out that the homes that fit within this criterion are located in several geographic areas. By visiting an open house, the buyer can get a real feel for the neighborhood by driving around the streets adjacent to the subject property. This exercise allows the buyer to see how the neighbors maintain their property, how large the neighboring homes are, and how close the neighborhood is to shopping and schools.

One of the questions to the agent might include what other homes in the neighborhood have sold for recently. This will give the buyer an idea as to whether the subject property is priced competitively. Due to the variations in sizes of homes, the agent should be able to give you a price per square foot breakdown. There are homes on the market priced below what it would cost to replicate the same home. In some cases, if a buyer considered the cost of the land and its improvements, a pool and dock, the seawall, water and sewer impact fees, and assessments, the price of the subject property may indeed be below the cost to build that same home today.

Driving to open houses to compare home prices and locations may seem tedious, but a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is well worth the time for comparison shopping. I believe this is a great time to purchase real property in Cape Coral. Homes offered for sale right now are of tremendous value. Interest rates on home mortgage loans are at their lowest, and worth taking advantage of.

There are many websites that post open houses.

Here are a few you can check out.,, and

I would like to wish all of my readers, friends, and family a very happy, safe, and joyous Thanksgiving and Holiday season.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group, Inc. Mario is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. Mr. D'Artagnan is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. Mario is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact Mr. D'Artagnan at: or call 239-565-4445.



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