Open house fever
Sellers use open houses to drum up interest in their property. But looked at from a buyer's point of view, the open house is a big caution flag.
"It's easy to get caught up in frenzy of an open house," Chan says. "With people jam-packed like sardines acting like piranhas, it brings out the competitive nature in all of us, and it's all too easy to end up overpaying because of the hype."
Thankfully, open houses aren't mandatory. If you're interested in the property, Chan advises buyers to ask for a private showing where there are no distractions like food, music or overly enthusiastic looky-loos.
But even in a private showing, Chan says buyers need to be conscious of staging techniques that are often designed to wow them into complacency.
"Remember, that staging look is not how it will be when you live there," Chan says. "Those are topical treatments to make the house sexy. So keep a level head on your shoulders and examine the basics like plumbing, roof, electric and the foundation. Once you see the underbelly of the home, you'll be less inclined to overpay."