When you’re house-hunting, you’ll likely have the opportunity to go to open houses – homes that the seller is opening for tours to the public on a specific day. Visiting open houses is a great way to find the perfect home for your needs, but there are ten simple rules you should follow while you tour open houses. This guide explains.
10 Etiquette Rules to Follow When You Visit Open Houses
Check out these ten etiquette rules for open houses:
- Be on time
- Wipe your feet or remove your shoes
- Register your name
- Tell the REALTOR® there if you already have an agent
- Keep an eye on your kids
- Be polite about the home
- Don’t touch
- Give other visitors space
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Schedule a second showing if you want one-on-one time with an agent
Here’s a closer look at each.
Open House Etiquette Rule #1: Be On Time
Check the times listed on an open house before you show up. If you show up too early, the sellers may still be getting the home ready; if you’re too late, the agent may have left and the sellers have gone back to their daily lives.
Pro Tip: If you’re running late, call the listing agent and ask him or her to stay. Better yet, schedule a private tour.
Open House Etiquette Rule #2: Wipe Your Feet
Before you step into an open house, ask the REALTOR if you should remove your shoes – some people have a rule about no shoes in the house. At the very least, you should wipe your feet thoroughly so you’re not tracking dirt inside.
Open House Etiquette Rule #3: Register Your Name
All open houses have a sign-in sheet, and if you intend to tour a home, your name needs to be on that sheet. It’s for safety reasons – the REALTOR’s, the homeowner’s, and yours – so make sure you sign in with the information requested. Additionally, most sellers want to know how many people toured the property.
Open House Etiquette Rule #4: Tell the REALTOR if You Already Have an Agent
If you’re already working with your own real estate agent, let the hosting REALTOR know. That way, the agent will give you plenty of space to explore on your own – and he or she will focus on visitors who don’t have an agent.
Open House Etiquette Rule #5: Keep an Eye on Your Kids
Keep your little ones close at all times – for their safety and the homeowner’s. Do not let them touch things or run around the property. If you have the option not to bring them, don’t.
Open House Etiquette Rule #6: Be Polite About the Home
Sometimes the owners stick around during open houses, but even if it’s just you and the seller’s agent in the home at the time, it’s good manners to keep negative personal opinions about the home’s state of repair or decor to yourself. Sure, you can talk about how you’d knock out a wall or add a roof to the deck, but don’t say anything that a seller may consider rude. Now a days there are often camera’s recording, which is completely legal.
Open House Etiquette Rule #7: Don’t Touch
During an open house, everything you need to see is already out in the open. If you’d like to open closets, medicine cabinets and cupboards, schedule a private tour.
Open House Etiquette Rule #8: Give Other Visitors Space
Don’t crowd into a room with multiple other interested buyers; give everyone their own space to explore and form opinions. When it’s your turn, you can take as long as you’d like to check out each room.
Open House Etiquette Rule #9: Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you have questions about the property, ask the hosting agent – he or she will be happy to answer them. Many open houses come with info sheets, too, which contain important information about the house or property.
Open House Etiquette Rule #10: Schedule a Second Showing for One-on-One Time With an Agent
If you’re interested in seeing the home again, or if you have more questions you would like to ask that you didn’t get answered during the open house, schedule a second showing. That way, you can go room-by-room with the agent and explore at your own pace.
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