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Attending an open house is a great way to learn a great deal about a home in a relatively short amount of time. It allows you to see inside the home with your own eyes, enabling you to notice details that are omitted in photos, whether it’s a noisy neighborhood or a smelly basement.
Aside from learning about the home, an open house is also an opportunity to help real estate agents learn about you. Being prepared and professional at an open house could set you apart from other, more casual, attendees helping you make a good impression.
Since most of us don’t attend open houses on the regular, and since there probably isn’t an Open House Etiquette 101 course you can take at your local college, it can be difficult to know exactly how to prepare for an open house. How should you dress? Should you take notes? Is it rude to take photos? Which questions are welcome and which should be avoided?
In this article, we’ll help demystify the open house, leaving you more prepared to leave a positive impression when you go to see what could potentially be your future home.
How should you dress when attending an open house? An open house is neither a funeral nor a trip to the beach. The realtor showing the house likely isn’t a fashion critic-they’re there to answer your questions.
In most cases, casual clothing is appropriate. Since you’ll be touring the house and yard, however, you might want to avoid heels.
Questions and conversation
An open house is your time to learn all of the relevant facts about a house. Good questions to ask include upgrades to the house, how many offers it has received, and the current owner’s timeline (when they want or need to close by).
There are other topics you’ll want to avoid. Don’t ask too many personal questions about the sellers. It will make the real estate agent, understandably, uncomfortable. Also be sure not to reveal too many details about yourself. You don’t want to mention things like your spending limit as this will remove some of your powers of negotiation.
It’s okay if the furniture and decorations in the home aren’t your taste, but it’s a bad idea to criticize these items as you tour the house, as you may offend the agent or owners who have decorated.
Being respectful of the owner's’ space
Even though the house is for sale, it’s still someone’s home. It’s inadvisable to bring food or drinks without a secure cap into an open house.
We live in a time when everyone photographs and shares everything. But avoid the temptation to take photos when you’re at an open house. Would you want someone going through your home, taking pictures of your valuables, and then sharing them online? Instead, refer back to photos that are available online or from the agent.
When it comes to touring the house, all of the rooms should be viewable. In fact, if there’s a room you can’t enter for any reason this should raise a red flag that something is wrong with the home. However, just because you should look in the closets to get an idea of space doesn’t mean you should touch or go through the personal belongings of the homeowner.
Follow all of the above open house tips and you’ll be sure to leave a good impression.