For those considering buying a home, or just curious, open houses can be a fun way to see what’s available on the market. It also gives the potential buyer an opportunity to meet with different real estate agents who can help with their search for a new home.

An open house is open to the general public, and it’s a typical home viewing without the appointment. According to Annie Kremer, a real estate agent with Ebby Halliday Realtors in Sherman, open houses are an opportunity to really look at the house and check out the neighborhood. The National Association of Realtors found in 2015, 48 percent of all buyers used an open house to aid in their search for buying a home.

Open houses are a time for potential buyers to look in closets, take pictures and it is an informal way to see more of the house. Potential buyers can also look at the neighborhood and see if it is a good fit for them.

The event also serves as a great opportunity to meet real estate agents. Potential clients can meet agents and get to know them through open houses. Often times, agents will have door prizes and other goodies for attending an open house. There will also be a sign-in sheet to help agents keep up with attendees, and if buyers are serious about the home, the agent can contact them after the open house.

“It’s a great opportunity for potential clients to get to know the Realtors,” Kremer said. “Clients can talk and see if the Realtor is a good match for their home buying needs.”

Before going to an open house, Kremer recommends potential buyers who are seriously considering purchasing a home get preapproved for a loan, to figure out what their budget is and to know what they can do financially.

For open houses to be successful, they need to be advertised well. According to the National Association of Realtors, 8 percent of buyers found the home they purchased because of a yard sign or an open house sign.

When selling a house, and especially important during an open house event, it needs to be well-staged and have the current owner’s personal photos hidden so it is easier for the prospective buyers to envision themselves living there. According to RC Barker, a real estate agent with Virginia Cook Realtors in Sherman, curb appeal and having the house well-staged helps the house sell faster.

The upkeep of the house and the staging of the house are two major factors to remember when getting a house ready for an open house. According to Barker, since most buyers are interested in an easy move-in, it is important to make sure all of the plumbing, heating and air are in good working condition. This is especially true in order to get ready for an open house.

The National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers found that 92 percent of buyers said open houses were somewhat useful, while only 8 percent said otherwise.

While not all houses sell because of an open house, it gives the potential buyers the opportunity to check out the neighborhood and get a chance to meet an agent who can show them other houses.