14 Things Not to Do During an Open House
From taking your shoes off to using the toilet, know these etiquette rules before going to an open house.
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Open House Etiquette
Are you in the market for a new home? Open houses offer a great opportunity to look through a home without setting up anything official with your Realtor. You can speak to the seller’s agent, ask questions and even scope out other prospective buyers.
However, to be a good house guest, there are certain etiquette rules you must follow. If you avoid these simple mistakes at your next open house tour, you’ll make the selling agent happy. And it might even help you land your dream house.
Arrive Early or Stay Late
Real estate agents set specific open house hours for a reason. They might have another house to show before or after the one you’re looking at, so keeping them from setting up or finishing up is not good etiquette.
Block the Driveway
You probably aren’t the only person interested in the house. Be courteous of other prospective buyers by not blocking the driveway or taking up more than one parking spot.
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Refuse to Comply With House Rules
Wear shoes that won’t leave any scuff marks on floors. And if the selling agent asks you to take your shoes off, respect the homeowner’s wishes. (That’s why you should always wear socks, too.) Also, ask before taking any photos or videos of the home.
Touch Personal Items
Our homes are filled with many of our most cherished possessions. Some are sentimental, while others are worth a lot of money. Be sure not to touch picture frames, musical instruments, jewelry, food, mail and documents. When in doubt, ask yourself how you’d feel if a stranger touched a similar item in your home.
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Sit on Furniture
The furniture probably isn’t staying with the home, so there’s really no reason to check how comfy that chair, couch or bed is. That includes outside furniture as well.
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Interrupt Other Potential Buyers
You should certainly ask the agent any questions you have about the home, but don’t monopolize their time. Also, other buyers might not be interested in having an in-depth conversation with you. They’re spending that time evaluating one of the biggest decisions of their life.
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Criticize the Home or the Owner’s Style
It’s fair to point out parts of the home that might be damaged or need to be replaced, like an old appliance. However, it’s rude to make fun of the homeowner’s decor or style.
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Use the Bathroom
If nature calls while you’re touring a home, it’s obviously OK to use the bathroom. However, it’s better to plan ahead and not find yourself in that situation.
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This should be obvious, but do not bring your four-legged friend to an open house. The exception would be a service animal.
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Leave Children Unattended
Bringing a child to an open house is perfectly acceptable — after all, it’ll be their home, too. But they should be monitored at all times for the safety of the child and the items in the house.
Open Dresser Drawers or Medicine Cabinets
It’s OK to look through kitchen cabinets and storage spaces, but stay out of personal areas like dressers or medicine cabinets.
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Take Too Many Handouts
A Realtor might leave out water bottles, snacks or finger foods for guests perusing the home. It’s fine to nibble, but be mindful of others and don’t turn the appetizers into a full meal.
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Leave food and drinks in your car. Whatever you bring with you should leave with you when you’re done touring the home. One exception: Trash from food or drinks provided by the agent.
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Overshare With the Seller’s Agent
If you immediately fall in love with the home, do NOT share that information with the Realtor. Oversharing details can compromise your position during negotiations. If you want to put in an offer on the home, let your agent know right away in case other potential buyers make offers after the tour.