If you’re looking for a new home, you’ve probably listed a few potential houses to visit during open house hours. An open house is when the seller’s agent hosts an event for visitors to walk in and tour the home.
The purpose of an open house is to allow potential buyers to explore the house in depth. Open houses are fun, but you will be expected to behave well if you plan on visiting one.
Keep reading to learn the latest open house etiquette for visitors and home buyers.
It’s a good idea to arrive at an open house prepared. That means bringing along anything that can help you scope out the place, such as a camera, tape measure, or flashlight.
Bring a notebook to write down the information you might find useful in your decision-making and to list all the answers to the questions you ask. And if you have an agent, bring them along too!
What to Wear
An open house isn’t a formal event, so forget the tie and high heels. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can arrive wearing sweatpants and flip-flops.
If you’re visiting an open house to explore different house options for your future purchase, you’ll want to agent to take you seriously. Choose an outfit that is both casual and neat.
Just Open the Door and Walk-In
Do you have to ring the doorbell or knock? No. Not all agents will host an open house the same way, especially if the one hosting is the home seller.
But, you can simply open the door and walk in without a problem. Chances are, once you walk in, the host will greet you. They’ll also probably instruct you a bit and give you a flyer with information on the home.
Wait Your Turn
If someone is exploring a room, patiently wait until they exit so you can check it out. While you wait, explore other available spaces.
Also, one of the most essential open house rules is not to be intrusive. Some people currently live in their homes when hosting an open house. So if there are any closed doors, don’t enter without permission and don’t look through personal areas, such as cabinets and drawers.
Ask For Permission to Take Photos
Ask the host for permission before taking any videos or photos. Even though you’re at an open house and practically anyone is free to walk in, it’s still someone’s home. So, you have to respect their privacy.
Only take photos of what you’re allowed to if they give you the green light. Just remember that the photos are for personal use only.
Stay Off the Furniture
Open houses are for you to tour a home you’re interested in buying, not test out the furniture. In fact, some open houses rent out fake furniture to stage the home to highlight its potential. So, unless the host has invited you to take a seat or test out furniture, don’t touch anything.
If you’re interested in checking out the closet space or kitchen cabinet room, ask before opening them. Other things you should avoid are:
Pulling down an attic ladder
Playing with curtains or blinds
Flushing toilets or turning on faucets
Playing with the light switches
Opening the electric box
Doing these things are impolite and intrusive. If you have concerns about the home’s features, run them by the host, and they’ll surely answer your questions.
Don’t Be Nosy
The idea of visiting an open house is to tour and observe the potential home. Yes, you can look at the backyard, explore the bathroom counter space, check out the driveway, etc. But, do not go through the owner’s personal belongings.
For example, it would be inappropriate of you to touch any instruments on display and look through books on a shelf. Don’t pick up any house decor, and avoid using the owner’s toiletries, such as hand lotions or perfumes.
Be respectful. No one likes it when strangers start going through one’s personal items. This type of behavior will stress the host out, and they won’t be able to focus on selling their home.
There will be things you don’t necessarily like about the house. If you dislike something about the home, don’t criticize it in front of the host or other guests. Wait until you’re done touring the house and outside the home to make any negative comments.
It’s rude to criticize the home in front of others. You don’t want to offend anybody, especially if you plan on making an offer.
Don’t Go Overboard With the Food
The best open house will provide free snacks and complimentary beverages for all the visitors. But that doesn’t make it an open buffet.
Don’t get carried away with the snacks by taking some home for yourself in Tupperware. And remember to leave some snacks for the other guests.
What to Expect From the Agent
Each agent behaves differently in an open house. Some agents will be waiting by the door to introduce themselves to each guest and greet them warmly, which the best real estate agent would do. Others might follow you to be your house tour guide.
There’s also the classic, non-engaging type of agent that hands you a business card and walks away. Whatever the case, don’t absorb the agent’s time. The agent will have to dedicate some attention to the rest of the visitors.
If you’re unable to approach the agent during the open house, remember to grab a business card. You can always contact the agent later and ask them your detailed questions about the home.
If you’re searching for an open house to visit, go to Manausa.com to find one near you.
Adopt the Right Open House Etiquette
Visiting open houses is one of the best ways to scout for a future home. If you’re planning on going to a few this week, abide by these open house etiquette and rules.
You’ll show seriousness and respect, which will make the homeowner take you seriously.
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