Jay Falone - RE/MAX Executive Realty


Attending an open house should be a fun, exciting experience. An open house enables you to view a residence and determine whether a home is right for you. As such, if you know what to expect from an open house, you can plan ahead and maximize the value of this event.

Preparing for an open house can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to attend an open house.

1. Review a Home Listing

A home listing enables you to learn about a house's age, condition and other factors. Thus, you'll want to review a home listing closely to ensure it is worth your time to visit an open house.

If a home listing grabs your attention, it may be beneficial to attend an open house. That way, you can get an up-close look at a residence.

On the other hand, if a home listing fails to garner your interest, you may want to consider other residences. Because if you attend an open house for a residence that falls short of your expectations, you risk wasting precious time and resources.

2. Put Together a List of Questions

When it comes to preparing for an open house, it often helps to put together a list of questions about a residence. By doing so, you can ask pertinent questions about a home and gain the insights you need to decide whether to submit an offer.

There is no such thing as a "bad" question to ask during an open house. Therefore, you should be unafraid to ask any questions about a house when you attend this event.

Remember, the more information that you have about a home, the more likely it becomes that you can make the best-possible decision about a residence. If you ask plenty of questions during an open house, you can obtain home insights that you otherwise may struggle to receive elsewhere.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

An open house may prove to be a daunting experience, particularly for those who are pursuing a home for the first time. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can help you plan ahead for any open house, at any time.

With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to succeed during the homebuying journey. In fact, this housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals and ensure you can accomplish them in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you informed about open houses in your city or town. This housing market professional is happy to attend open houses with you and offer homebuying insights and recommendations as well.

If you want to get the most out of the homebuying journey, it pays to hire an expert real estate agent. Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can hire a housing market professional to guide you along the homebuying journey.


A home inspection can make or break a property sale. If all goes well during a home inspection, a buyer and seller can proceed with a transaction. Conversely, if a home inspector discovers major problems with a house, a property sale may be in jeopardy.

As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure a home inspection delivers valuable insights. With in-depth home insights at your disposal, you can determine whether to continue with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.

To ensure a successful home inspection, let's take a look at three common home inspection mistakes, and how a homebuyer can avoid these problems.

1. A homebuyer hires an inexperienced home inspector.

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With an experienced home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of a successful home inspection.

Evaluate a variety of local home inspectors. Then, take a look at each home inspector's background and expertise to narrow your search.

In addition, if you feel comfortable with a home inspector, reach out to this professional directly before you make your final hiring decision. That way, you can request client referrals and gain additional insights to help you make an informed selection.

2. A homebuyer does not attend a home inspection.

A homebuyer is not required to attend a home inspection. However, attendance usually is a good idea, regardless of your homebuying expertise.

Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you likely will complete in your lifetime. If you want to ensure a home is a viable long-term investment, it certainly pays to walk around a property with a home inspector and conduct an in-depth evaluation.

In many instances, attending a home inspection may enable a homebuyer to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report as well.

For example, a home inspector who identifies issues with a property may be able to give a homebuyer an estimate about how much it will cost to complete myriad property repairs. These insights are exceedingly valuable and can help a homebuyer determine whether a house is a worthwhile purchase.

3. A homebuyer ignores a home inspection report.

After a home inspector completes a property evaluation, this professional will provide the homebuyer with a home inspection report. Then, a homebuyer will have a set amount of time to review the report to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.

A home inspection report contains plenty of valuable insights, and as such, should not be ignored. Instead, a homebuyer should spend time evaluating the report and learning from it. And if a homebuyer has any questions, he or she can reach out to the home inspector who provided the report for answers.

Lastly, if you need help planning a home inspection, you should employ a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you'll have no trouble getting in touch with the best home inspectors in your area.


Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

Buying a home, especially for the first time, might feel a little scary—notably if you've learned the home you’re considering for purchase is a zombie property. Even a pro at buying property may flinch when they initially hear this term.

No worries, a zombie property is not as frightening as it sounds. It’s a common term used in the housing industry, originating back to the 2007-08 housing crisis when tens of thousands of these homes were left behind because their owners couldn’t afford to make their mortgage payments.

What is a Zombie Property?

A zombie property creeps up when no one retains accountability for it. It usually occurs when homeowners leave their homes after receiving a foreclosure notice and incorrectly believe they must immediately vacate the property. They often don't realize there is an entire foreclosure process, one that doesn’t happen overnight. In most instances, they believe the lender that sent the notice will take over responsibility for the property, so they move out. In some cases, they do know they can stay but choose not to delay the inevitable and cut loose in search of greener pastures.

Meanwhile, the lender, for whatever reason, doesn’t complete the foreclosure process they initiated and the property stands abandoned. Since the homeowner has already walked away not realizing they still technically own the property, and the lender also doesn’t assume ownership, no one takes responsibility for the home. It essentially sits in a state of limbo—hence it being referred to as a “zombie.” Its ownership is not quite alive (abandoned), but not yet dead (foreclosed upon) either.

Pros of Purchasing a Zombie Property

The primary benefit of purchasing a zombie property is the price. Most of these properties are typically sold below market value, sometimes at rock bottom prices. Because some of them are eyesores, or have the potential to become attractive to squatters, municipalities and towns are eager to get these homes rehabbed and inhabited. This means buyers who are handy with repairs or who have the investment money available to fix up and flip the home for a profit can make out handsomely with this type of sale.

Cons of Purchasing a Zombie Property

While the financial benefits associated with zombie homes are lucrative, there are some potential pitfalls to be careful of when considering a purchase. In most instances, the original owner still retains the title to the home, so this legal detail will need to be addressed. Buyers also have to consider these homes may have deterioration, unsafe conditions or be unsanitary. This is especially a concern for properties that have been abandoned for a long period of time. Additionally, it takes more effort to navigate a zombie property purchase than a traditional foreclosure since no one is actively involved with the property.

Many potential buyers intentionally or inadvertently overlook zombie properties, but if you’re in the market, it’s not an option you should automatically discount. Don't let the zombie moniker fool you.  If you perform your due diligence and find ways to mitigate any drawbacks, you could potentially land yourself a great home, rental investment, or profitable house-flip.


After living in a small apartment or crowded house, you might be dreaming of having more space, a bigger closet, or just one more bathroom to ease the clutter and closeness. When is a larger home the answer? Before making the leap to more square footage, consider all the factors that fill the bill. If upsizing is the right move, embrace it with confidence.

Household size

If you intend to grow your household by adding children, inviting more housemates into your tribe, having lots of guests, or bringing in aging parents, you may need a larger home. Depending on the scenario, square footage and the number of rooms aren’t the only considerations. Homes designed for families with children would not necessarily be the best alternative for housing aging parents or as shared space for working adults. 

Some areas to consider are:

  • Stairs: with small children, elderly adults, or residents with disabilities, a home with stairs may not be as useful as a single-story home. Due to property-size constraints, larger homes with additional bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be multi-storied structures. While offering more space, the challenge of maneuvering stairs might not be the right choice. Pay special attention to the number of steps required to enter or leave a home as well. For some people, negotiating just two or three steps up to the front porch might be problematic. Work with your agent to determine what configuration meets the needs of your unique household.

  • Bathroom arrangements: Homes designed for nuclear families often have joint bathroom arrangements just as a Jack and Jill configuration with a shared bathroom between two bedrooms, or a shared hallway bathroom. If en suite baths better serve your household, offering more privacy to housemates, let your agent know that’s what you need.

  • Mobility: Homes for aging parents or members requiring assistive aids such as wheelchairs or walkers, need wider doorways and halls, direct access entries with fewer sharp corners to maneuver and baths with accessible fixtures. Older homes tend to have narrower doors and hallways. Even if older adults do not need such aids presently, they may in the future.

  • Social spaces: Do you need a family room separate from a more formal entertainment area? Does your household require more private or quiet spaces? Are you likely to entertain large groups of adults? Children? Before buying based on size alone, consider how the shared spaces will be used. For example, some blended households may have older teens and young adults as well as toddlers and preschoolers. Having more than one social space allows family members to socialize in an age-appropriate space without being confined to their rooms. 

  • Entertaining: For some households, the number and size of bedrooms is less important than the space available for you to host dinner parties, game nights, or large gatherings. Let your agent know if entertainment space is your priority so that the homes you view include open-concept areas conducive to sizable gatherings.

  • Workspace: With more folks working from home now, your need for more space might include the need for single or multiple office options. Some people work well within hearing of the household noise and bustle while others need a quiet retreat. Discussing these differing work styles ahead of making your purchase ensures that everyone’s needs are addressed.

Whatever “home” looks like to you; your agent is ready to help you find it. Make one list of everything that your household needs and another of the additional items you want and share it with your realtor.


A "lowball" homebuying proposal is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly if you want to acquire your dream residence as quickly as possible. In fact, after you submit a lowball offer, it may be only a matter of time before you receive a "No" from a home seller.

When it comes to buying a house, it helps to prepare a competitive offer. That way, you can increase the likelihood of getting a seller to accept your home offer and speed up the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid the risk of submitting a lowball offer on your dream residence.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

Are you searching for a house in a buyer's or seller's market? Are homes selling quickly in the current real estate market? And are houses selling at, above or below their initial asking prices? These are just some of the questions that homebuyers need to consider as they assess the real estate sector.

With a diligent approach to buying a house, a homebuyer can become a real estate market expert. This buyer can assess a wide assortment of housing market data, and by doing so, gain the insights that he or she needs to submit a competitive offer on any residence.

2. Understand a Home's Condition

A home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that an individual will complete over the course of his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to submit an offer on a house should not be taken lightly.

To make the best-possible choice, it helps to look at all of the available information about a residence. You should review a home listing closely and attend a home showing. In many instances, it may be beneficial to check out a house a few times to get an up-close look at it before you submit an offer.

The condition of a home will play a major role in how much you are willing to offer to acquire a residence. Therefore, you should learn as much as possible about a house's condition. And if you feel comfortable with a home, you should be ready to submit an offer that will match a seller's expectations.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent generally is a good idea, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to reduce the risk of submitting a lowball offer on a house. A real estate agent can help a homebuyer prepare a competitive offer, as well as ensure that a buyer can enjoy a seamless home transaction.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you analyze a house. He or she will even offer homebuying recommendations and teach you everything you need to know about the homebuying cycle.

Avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can submit a competitive proposal to acquire your dream residence.