Open house etiquette is important for sellers and buyers alike. Being courteous and polite to the seller and their agent will not only help you make a good impression, but it might also give you an edge when it’s time to close the deal as well.
Attending an open house is much different than visiting friends or family and there are unspoken rules that come along with it. When you’re on the hunt for a new home it’s important to keep these dos and don’ts of attending an open house in mind.
Do: Look Closely at the Little Things
This could be your future home, so it’s ok to look closely inside the closets and bedrooms to check out the shelves, storage space and square footage of the place. Go into the basement and garage and feel free to peek inside the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom as well.
Don’t: Be Nosy
Many people haven’t fully made the move out of their home yet when they hold their open house and there may still be personal items in the closets and cabinets. Look around to ensure you have a good idea of what the house is like but don’t rummage too much into the clothes, medicine, or other items that are still there.
Do: Talk to the Owner and Their Agent
It’s a good idea to talk to the homeowner if they’re there or the agent in charge. Ask about the schools, the neighbors, the traffic and noise in the neighborhood and more. You can also chat about any recent renovations that were made in the home or any issues that it has that will need to be repaired if you buy it.
Don’t: Speak Negatively About the Home
If you don’t like anything about the house, keep it to yourself. You don’t need to criticize the paint color or the kitchen layout to the current owner. Be polite at all times by only asking questions about what you need to know and only sharing your opinion if it’s positive.
Do: Take Photos of the House
Attending open houses as a buyer can be grueling, especially if you’ve been going for weeks and are yet to find your dream home. In this case, taking photos can help you stay organized and keep track of all the homes you’ve seen so far.
Don’t: Snap a Picture Before You Ask
Just make sure before you whip out your phone to take a few photos that you get the ok from the owner or their agent. Some people may be uncomfortable with it or may already have a handout with the photos on it for you to take home.
Do: Be Comfortable
Your clothes can affect your mood, and your mood will affect your opinion of a home. If you’re hot or cold, your feet hurt, or you’re uncomfortable in your outfit you simply won’t be happy. In that case, you may find yourself rushing to get through the house or entering it with a negative opinion that it doesn’t deserve. You’re going to be on your feet awhile so wear something comfortable to every open house you attend and go in with a positive mindset to give it a fair chance.
Don’t: Show Up Looking Sloppy
While being comfortable is good, looking sloppy is not. If you show up in sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt the seller is sure to notice. When it comes time to look over the offers, yours may be passed over in favor of someone who gave a better first impression at the open house.
Do: Chat With the Other Buyers
It’s natural to see the other buyers as your competition, but it’s a good idea to make small talk with them as well. You’re all in the house hunt together and they may be able to share valuable information about the home, the neighborhood, and their experience with the current market.
Don’t: Share Too Much Information
At the end of the day, though, the other buyers are your competition. If you’re serious about putting an offer on the house, keep it to yourself. Don’t share that you’re desperate to buy or that this is your dream home. The seller could overhear and take advantage of your position, or it could simply influence the other buyers’ actions more than you think.
Keep These Dos and Don’ts in Mind at Every Open House
Buying a home is a long process that is different from any other experience in your life. A lot of time, effort, energy and money is going into this decision so it’s important to approach it with care.
When you attend open houses in your area, keep these etiquette tips from The Degnan Group in mind to ensure you make a positive first impression with every seller, and then successfully close the deal on your dream home!