Many people enjoy going to open houses on Sundays. Some of them are looking to buy a house, while others just want to see the inside of the home. Real estate agents attend open houses to see if they are homes that their clients might want to see or to meet new clients. It is important to understand what to do and what not to do in an open house before you go.
Anyone can attend an open house, but it is important to be honest about why you are there. If you are just looking, you should be upfront with the real estate agent who is hosting. If you are already working with your own agent, you should be upfront about that as well. It’s only rude to attend an open house if you pretend that you are interested in buying when you are not. In addition, there is a certain etiquette you should follow while you are in an open house.
If you plan to go to an open house, you should understand how it works before you go. Continue reading to learn whether it is rude to go to an open house and how it works.
Is it Rude to Go to an Open House?
It isn’t rude to go to an open house as long as you are upfront about why you are there. If you are just looking out of curiosity, let them know. You should also tell them if you simply want to compare your own home or if you are working with another agent. No matter your reason, you need to be honest with the real estate agent or seller hosting the open house.
However, being open about why you are there is just the first step. There are many things that you can do while you are there that may be considered rude.
Useful Guidelines You Should Know Before You Attend an Open House
Plan to take your time. If you are in the market to purchase a house, you should try to see as many as you can and ideally bring your agent with you. When your agent can’t come, you can take notes on which ones are your favorite. Share your agent’s information with the agent hosting the open house for the houses you have some interest in.
Now, let’s go over open houses etiquette.
There are certain unspoken rules people should follow while attending an open house. Some of these rules are common sense, while others are not something you may think is important right away. I have been in many open houses as a buyer and seller, and I can tell you that you have a better open house experience if you keep these guidelines in mind.
The first is that you should always treat the host with respect. The host might be a real estate agent, the owner, or both. Say hello when you arrive and thank them before you leave. While you may be there just out of curiosity, don’t come incognito as if you were some spy.
Be Ready to Remove Your Shoes
It doesn’t happen in all open houses, but it is not unusual to have to take your shoes off. If you think about it, it makes sense. Especially if it is raining and you will be walking through carpeted area.
Don’t Bring Your Pets
Unless it is medically necessary, you shouldn’t bring your pet to an open house. Remember that not everyone loves pets, and they can become a distraction for everyone around.
Do You Really Need to Take Your Kids With You?
If you must, and clearly, sometimes you can’t avoid it, keep an eye on them. They need to know that you are not going to the park. An open house is not a place to jump and scream.
Keep Drinks and Snacks at Home
An open house can be entertaining, but it is not like going to the movies. The realtor or the seller doesn’t want to clean after you when the open house is over. On the other hand, the open house may offer snacks. Just be careful with crumbs and leftovers.
Furniture is for Looking, Not Touching
Many times open houses are staged. Meaning the furniture doesn’t even belong to the seller and may not even be “real.” So, ask for permission before you sit on a chair or couch. And remember that the furniture is more than likely not part of the sale.
If you want to open cabinets and drawers, you may have to ask for permission. Don’t overstep your bounds. There may be personal belongings, medicine cabinets, etc., that are private.
Watch Your Mouth
If you don’t like something, keep it to yourself. An open house is not a place for you to be honest about what you don’t like in the house. Selling a home can be very emotional, and the seller doesn’t need to know how much you hate their shutters.
Should You Take Pictures?
There are different opinions on whether it is OK to take pictures in an open house. The best approach is to ask the realtor or the homeowner before taking a picture and not to share it outside your immediate family.
Mind Other People
Some open houses are very popular. Be mindful of other people. Take your time to make sure you see everything you need to see, but do it efficiently. Don’t linger around unnecessarily.
Open House Registration Log
I’ve always thought that the only purpose of the registration log in an open house was to collect contact information for real estate agents. While that is still an important reason you sign the registration log, it can also protect the homeowner’s interest. If something happens, it may be crucial to know who was there.
It is not rude to attend an open house, but you need to be polite and respectful. It is important to be upfront with the hosting agent about why you are there, whether you are curious or looking for a home.
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