TGIF! You have your pre-qualification letter and freed up your weekend to check out some open houses. But before you hit the town, here are some open house etiquette tips to make the experience worthwhile for both you and the hosting agent.
1. Arrive on time.
The best thing about open houses is scheduling isn’t required. The second best thing: you have a window of about two hours to swing by and look at the property.
For the early birds, don’t step inside the property unless the hosting agent gives you the OK as the sellers may still be living there.
If you’re running late, no worries – give the hosting agent a call first and see if they can accommodate a showing after the open house. If they can’t, they’ll be more than happy to schedule for another time!
2. Be prepared to remove your shoes.
Sellers may request shoes be removed to keep the property clean, or the hosting agent may require it for a vacant property because it was professionally cleaned for the market.
Don’t take it personal! The point being shoes may bring in unwanted dirt, especially if several people will be touring the property -- so make sure you’re wearing your favorite socks, or bring a pair of shoe coverings. Sometimes the agent will provide shoe coverings for you as well!
3. Sign in when you walk in.
Unless you’re attending the open house with your real estate agent, you’ll be asked to sign in before touring the property. This is for security reasons and to log every person that walks in during an open house.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to put all your information down - just your name is sufficient!
However, if you’re actively searching for a home (and you're not already working with an agent), it would be beneficial to you to put all your information so the hosting agent can help with your search.
4. If you’re working with an agent, Let the hosting agent know.
Don’t be afraid to let the hosting agent know you’re working with a real estate agent – hand them your agent’s card if you have it with you. If not, you can write down their information on the sign-in sheet.
This will help the hosting agent know who to follow up with in case you may have any questions, or are interested in submitting an offer!
5. Keep children by your side.
Children are naturally curious so an open house will feel like an opportunity for exploration.
However, unsupervised children could distract other buyers from comfortably touring the property. Most importantly, it could result in an accident, especially if the property is furnished.
The hosting agent doesn’t want anything to break or anyone to get hurt, so make sure you have your eyes on your children or have them by your side as you tour the property.
6. Don’t touch personal belongings.
You’ll come across property that are still occupied and completely furnished with the seller’s belongings.
You may find cool trinkets from the seller’s travels or furniture that’s in the way of something you really want to see – it’s best to leave things in their place.
Of course, you’re allowed to see how much storage space a property has. In this case, it’s best to ask the hosting agent if it’s okay before opening any cabinets and closets.
7. Keep design or negotiation plans outside.
While you’re touring the property, you may feel tempted to mention what changes you would make. Or you find the property is the one and you're so excited to tell your agent what you want to offer.
It’s best to keep these conversations outside. You don’t want the hosting agent or other buyers to eavesdrop and essentially hurt your leverage in negotiating.
8. Lastly, don’t eat all the sweets.
Reach out today if you want to look at open houses together!
I'm happy to let you know which one of our listings has an upcoming open house, or keep you posted on open houses in your neighborhood(s) of interest.