An important part of the home buying journey is to check out houses for sale in the neighborhood where you want to buy. While your agent can take you on a private showing, sometimes it just makes sense for you to go to the open house by yourself. But before you walk through the front door, make sure you’ve brushed up on your open house etiquette!
Do Say Hello to the Host
It’s not only polite to greet the agent holding the open house, it’s important to let the agent know you are there. Some agents will let you move freely through the house while others will insist on giving you a tour. No matter how much you might want to wander around on your own, if the agent insists on going with you, let them. They may have received specific instructions from the seller to accompany buyers through the house. While the agent is holding the home open so buyers can view the property, they also have a responsibility to watch over the home and the seller’s belongings.
The agent will also usually ask you if you’re working with an agent. If you are, don’t be afraid to tell them. If you have one of your agent’s cards, you can give it to the Realtor at the open house. They will then contact your agent to follow-up after the open house instead of you.
Don’t Keep Your Shoes On If Asked to Remove Them
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes that are easy to remove when you visit an open house. If the agent on duty asks you to remove your shoes or wear slip-on booties, follow their instructions. There will usually be a place designated for you to take your shoes on and off.
Do Sign In If the Agent Asks You To
You may be reluctant to sign the guest register, but if asked, please comply. Yes, you’re providing your personal information to yet another real estate agent, but they also need to keep a record for the seller of who was in the home in case of any issues. If you don’t want the agent to contact you, just tell them or leave a note in the register. Most agents will respect your wishes.
Don’t Open a Closed Door Without Permission
Always ask before opening a closed door. If the seller has pets, they may be behind the door. Or the seller might have designated a certain room or closet as an off-limits area. Be polite and ask before opening!
Do Ask Before Taking Pictures or Video
You may be tempted to takes pictures or videos to help you remember what you liked about the house. Ask the Realtor on duty if it’s okay to do so. Remember: the house is likely still the seller’s home and you would want someone to ask before taking pictures in your home!
Don’t Make Negative Remarks About the Home or Seller
Keep your private opinions about the home or seller to yourself. You never know if a friend or neighbor of the seller might be listening. And in a multiple offer situation, it’s not uncommon for the agent to share their impressions of potential buyers to help the seller make a decision about the offers on the table.
Do Ask Questions
The agent on duty is there to answer your questions. They want you to fall in love with the home and make an offer. Anything you want to know, just ask! If they don’t know the answer to something, they should offer to find out and follow up with you.
Don’t Rush Through the Open House
Don’t feel you have to rush through or can only take a quick glance at the home. Take your time, look around, and imagine yourself living there. Is this home the one? Or does it have the potential to be the one with a little work and your personal touches? Unless the Realtor has stated that they need to close up, feel free to stay as long as you want.
Do Give Yourself Permission to Fall in Love
It’s okay to walk into a house and immediately fall in love. As much as I advise my clients not to get too attached to a particular home, sometimes you just know that the search is over.
If you have questions about the home buying process or want to see some homes in San Diego, contact me and I will be happy to help you!