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The Open House 

Getting a taste of home options

If you've been around Central Oregon for a while, you'll remember how limited we once were when choosing a favorite watering hole or restaurant. With the growth of population we've seen an enormous surge in dining and beverage options. The same is true for the housing market. Before the Bend boom it was slim pickings when it came to finding a new home. Fast forward to today, with so many options—how do you choose the right home and location?

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  • Pixabay

Just like sampling tasty brews and scrumptious bites at new restaurants, the same approach can apply when looking for a new home. The best way to shop homes and get a feel for a neighborhood is to actually experience the home and location for yourself. An Open House is one of the most convenient and helpful ways to do this and get your "taste" of what's on the market.

Buyers tend to form opinions based on their initial impression from online photos and maps. It's impossible to get a true sense and scope of the space from pictures; you have to get that real-life perspective from being in the home. I always encourage clients to view a property with a fresh and open mind, leaving their preconceptions behind. Consider these key points while touring open houses, and take photos and notes for reference later.

Location: We all know it's true that location is one of the most important factors in real estate. Ask yourself, how is the home positioned on the lot or in the neighborhood? Is it as private or convenient as you thought? How are the views? What's it like sitting in one room versus another? What about parking or proximity to busy roads? Consider the condition of surrounding homes. Are they well maintained?

Layout and Floor Plan: Do you love the feel of an open concept living area, or would you prefer more privacy from room to room? Do you want all bedrooms on the same level, or more privacy for your master bedroom? Is downsizing the right fit, or do you need more room? Will the house suit your entertaining needs?

Finishes and Materials: Pay attention to surfaces and paint colors. Do the materials look and work well together? Have the materials held up over time?

You can find a list of open houses from any major real estate website, or simply drive around town and you're bound to find an open house in any of Bend's neighborhoods every weekend this summer. Once inside a home, try to imagine yourself doing what you love, whether entertaining your favorite people, relaxing in a special spot, playing with the kids or working on your bike or outside project. If you can see yourself living there and it puts a smile on your face, that's a genuine start to finding your new home.

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