Visiting open houses is a great way to get a feel for an area if you’re in the market for a home. Many buyers prefer doing their initial research about a neighborhood by visiting open houses because they are a low-pressure environment. Open house brokers are accustomed to the casual “just looking” visitor. Plus you can be sure that the neighbors are going to stop by who can be a wonderful resource for learning about an area.
When you visit an open house, it’s important to remember that you are walking into someone’s personal home. There are rules of conduct to abide by. Follow these simple Rules of Open House Etiquette to get the most out of your open house visit.
Open House Rules of Engagement
- Announce that you’ve arrived and wait for a broker to show you around the house or give you permission to look before you start walking through the home.
- If working with a buyers agent, be sure to let the open house broker know right away. This allows the sitting agent to show consideration for the fact that you are a represented buyer.
- Don’t touch the homeowner’s personal items, open drawers, closets, kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Imagine that a stranger was in your home and treat their house with the same consideration you’d expect.
- Be mindful of the sitting broker’s time. If he or she is talking to a perspective buyer–wait for an opening before approaching them. Remember, this might be a Saturday for you but it’s a work day for the broker–this is his or her job so let them work.
- Ask permission before using the bathroom. It might be an open house, but that doesn’t make it a public restroom.
- Sign in if the broker requests. This allows the sitting broker to keep track of who comes and goes.
- Use the sidewalk, driveway, and front door pathway. Don’t take shortcuts through the front lawn.
- Wipe your feet on the door mat–even if there’s nothing on your feet.
- Don’t say bad things about the home itself, decorating style, or personal artifacts like pictures or artwork. You never know–the homeowner could be in the house or right behind you!
- Don’t lie in the homeowners bed even if it looks really comfortable.
- Some open houses are catered–but limit yourself to the food that’s out and available. Open house doesn’t mean open fridge.
Following these simple rules will make you an open house pro!