Typically, an open house is a pre-arranged meeting where buyers tour a home that’s on sale. Open houses are not solely for active buyers; potentials and curious people are often a significant part of the crowd.
Like any other event, it’s important to be kind and polite to the open house hosts. Some practices vary within communities, and your real estate agent will be able to help you stay aware of them. However, the majority of the understood rules of attending an open house are the same as those you might follow when visiting a friend or family member.
Here are the common dos and don’ts of an open house:
The Dress Code
Open houses are informal events, so it is not really necessary to go out of your way on the outfit. You can leave your tie or heels at home. Nonetheless, do avoid settling for outfits that are too casual, such as flip flops or worn sweatpants. It will be hard to be taken seriously if you are interested in buying. Besides, open houses involve a lot of walking across rooms or going up and down stairs, and you will want to be comfortable.
Be On Time
Make sure you will be available during the scheduled hours for the open house event. Arriving too early will inconvenience the sellers while showing up later might disrupt other schedules for the agent or homeowners.
If the specified time does not work for you and you’re still interested in the home, you can call and schedule a private walk-through when you have the time. Alternatively, call ahead to ask whether the agent will be staying late.
Entering the Home
Common courtesy dictates that you wipe your feet as you enter a home. Depending on the weather, you can remove your shoes and leave them by the door. If the owner requests attendees to remove their shoes regardless of the weather, be courteous and comply. In the same way, you would not want someone dragging dust, mud, or leaves through your home, neither does the seller.
Introducing Yourself and Signing In
Even if you are there just to have a look, it is considered polite to introduce yourself. Most open houses run by an agent will have a sign-in sheet at the entrance. It is a way of marketing the home after the open house is complete. Furthermore, it creates an accurate representation of how much foot traffic the open house attracted.
Some house owners will require you to sign in for security reason as well. It is polite and courteous to sign in, but you are not usually required to include contact information if you have no interest in real estate marketing from the agent. However, putting down your name is a sign of respect that works out for everyone.
Always be polite to the people you meet at an open house, and don’t be afraid to make small talk with the other people you meet there. You will likely meet real estate agents who may offer to assist you. You can speak to your real estate agent about when to consider the advice of others. Always thank the host when you leave!
Be Kind in Your Remarks
An open house is a way to let people explore a home they’re interested in in an informal setting. You will likely have the option to take a tour of the home, or sometimes to look around on your own. In these cases, be thoughtful in your exploration. After all, you are in someone’s home. Additionally, be kind when remarking on features of the home, whether they are something you would choose or not.