Open House Etiquette

Approaching an open house can be intimidating, whether you are a first time buyer or this is your second or third home. With your budget in mind, approaching a house with a line of people (whom you visualize outbidding you) can be overwhelming.

Try not to be overwhelmed. There likely is a wide range of different interests circulating the house from nosy neighbors to people just starting in the market to serious buyers who have missed out on a house or two recently. Out of all the serious buyers there may only be a small amount that are interested in this house and an even smaller amount will be in agreement with the terms. Given this, you can walk in with confidence; don’t stress.
All in all, you want it to be a pleasant experience. If you’re abrasive and demanding, you are less likely to win the sympathies of the sellers representative, which might carry over to the negotiating table. At the end the of the day, that’s all that really matters; getting to the negotiating table and getting what you want. Keep your eye on that prize.

Here are some tips on open house etiquette:

1. Attire
Business casual is the most appropriate attire, you don’t want to show up in sweatpants or shorts for obvious reasons. However, if you go too formal, like uncomfortable shoes or a stuffy suit or dress, it won’t be enjoyable. You’re going to be likely visiting a few open houses that afternoon, going up and down a lot of stairs and doing a lot of walking. You don’t want to be uncomfortable and agitated.

2. Focus
You may get frustrated after seeing a few open houses, but don’t let it wear on you. Stay focused on why you’re there. Don’t make too much small talk as it’s a waste of time. Your goal is to assess the property to see if it matches your needs and move on. Often times agents ask for only one group to walk through at a time, so be considerate by not spend too much time at each open house, also you won’t be able to view as many in the allotted time.

3. Stay Together
If you are there with others, don’t divide and conquer. It’s the agent’s responsibility if anything gets broken or stolen. Proper etiquette is to keep a close eye on your kids and stick together so the agent knows where you are at all times.

4. Respect
Respect the property you are viewing. Although it’s up for sale, it’s still somebodies’ home. If you have children with you keep them close, children are curious by nature and tend to snoop and could break things. While it’s ok to open a closet to get an idea of the size, it’s not ok to start shuffling through people’s belongings.

5. Photos
With the advent of smartphones, taking pictures of anything you are interested in has become commonplace. Even more with open houses, ideally you have a limited time inside the house and may want to revisit videos and images of things that stuck out to you for review later. Be respectful and always ask first before taking pictures or videos.