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Open House Etiquette for Home Buyers

Right now home buyers have the upper hand, clearly real estate today is a buyers market. Although its a buyers market when you visit an open house remember you are dealing with people.  A home seller who may or may not want to sell their home.  There is a good chance something changed in their lives.  It's wise to mind your manners and follow open house etiquette.


Organize Yourself  When Visiting An Open House

What's the plan?  Set aside an afternoon, understand that most open houses take place on Saturdays and Sundays. Create a schedule and map out the homes that you would like to see.  Discuss it with your REALTOR if you are using one and make sure you take some of their cards with you if you would rather not go with your REALTOR.  Its best to take your real estate agent along as you might have questions and your real estate agent is there to assist in finding the information you need to make a good real estate buying decision. 

What to wear and what to bring? 
Dress comfortably, remember if you are serious about buying a home you might end up in awkward positions while inspecting the house.  Comfortable shoes and clothes is always helpful when you will be walking quite a bit and possibly climbing stairs.

Knock on the door!  Many times people hear the word open house and they forget that they may startle the owner or real estate agent or other parties interested in viewing the home.  Make sure and acknowledge the host.  Don't forget to sign in and if you are working with a real estate agent and they have not accompanied you give them their card or let them know you are working with an agent. 

View the property Its very easy to get distracted when there is a house full of people.  Remember you stopped by to see if you are interested in buying a sellers house.  That means pick up the information sheet and pay attention to all of the homes features.  Jot down some notes especially if you are going to several open houses. 

Look around but don't pry- Make sure the home is suitable for you meaning checking out the closets, the sinks, cabinets and cupboard but don't start digging into their personal possessions.  Take your tapemeasures and pay attention to details that would affect the value of the property.

Don't assume anything- Don't assume that you can take pictures, open closed doors, sit on furniture. Always ask before doing something that might offend the real estate agent or home seller.  

Be polite even if the house is a wreck- Its much more polite to keep your criticism to yourself rather than blurt it out for the home seller or listing agent to hear.  Wait until you get back into the car.  If for some reason there are several offers on the house and if one of them happens to be yours you do not want the seller to remember you as the real estate buyer who criticized the sellers house.

Save the chit-chat-Too many times real estate buyers expose themselves to real estate agents and sellers in a very harmful way by offering them to many of their personal thoughts maybe on the fact you love their home.  It's best to walk through and remember the term poker face! 

Be polite when asking questions-Probe and ask open ended questions. It gives the seller a chance to share with some of the benefits of buying their property.  Neighborhood information, important facts about the property such as additional fees or special assessments are important things you should know before buying a home.    

Pay attention to other buyers If you are walking though your dream home its important to listen to what other real estate buyers are talking about.  Remember when visiting an open house, your dream home may be someone Else's. 

Happy House Hunting

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