Home Buyers: Don’t Expect Access to Every Home That’s for Sale

Unless you’re a millionaire, that is. Readers of Nolo’s homebuying books probably know that we recommend going to open houses for a wide range of properties in your area of interest, above and below your price range, as a way of getting to know that market and what justifies a higher or lower price tag.

However, there are some homes, at the uber-high end of the scale, that you can forget about visiting. Luxury home sellers are (understandably) wary about throwing their doors open to the curious public, and may not even hold an open house at all. Viewing the house will be arranged “By appointment only.”

Even then, if you were gutsy enough to make an appointment to see a house you couldn’t possibly buy, you might find another hurdle: a check on y0ur financial credentials. That’s apparently the case, for instance, with a $13.9 million home being marketed in Las Vegas right now. (With a 17-car garage?!) Los Angeles Times reporter John Glanna explains,”such top-end sellers [] take precautions, such as conducting financial background checks on any buyer before rolling out the red carpet for a personal home tour.”

Oh well. If it’s any comfort regarding your market research, these high-end homes operate in a different pricing universe anyway. Oddly enough, in a down market, they sometimes drop in price more precipitously than other houses, owing to the fact that even wealthy buyers are feeling uncertain and looking for bargains, and their investments may have recently dropped in value to the tune of what they’d pay to buy, say, a house.