Imagine that you’re going to an open house and as you try to walk through and view the rooms you’re greeted by a couple kids running and screaming down the hallway, one jumping on a bed, and a man and woman yelling to each other from separate rooms. It doesn’t sound like a very pleasant experience does it? Yet it happens. Open houses are a great opportunity to view a home on your own without having to make an appointment but don’t be the people who annoy everyone else. Here are a few rules of good behaviour for an open house.
1. Sign in please. Many people think a sign in sheet is just a ploy to get marketing information. It’s actually a very important for the realtor to show how the open house went as well as a security measure for the home owner. A good real estate agent won’t contact you without your consent.
2. Leave the kids at home. Choosing a home may be a family decision but leave the kids at home if you’re going to an open house or schedule a private appointment instead. Kids can get bored easily or become excited to explore a new place and it can be difficult to keep track of them. You want your mind freed up to think about the house not about where your son or daughter may be. If you absolutely must bring your kids, keep them very close at hand and don’t let them wander off.
3. Stay together. The real estate agent (and the assistants if there are any) need to keep track of everyone in the home so it’s preferable that you stay together. No one wants to hear a couple yelling back and forth while everyone else tries to converse quietly so if you must split up then at least rejoin somewhere to talk about your thoughts.
4. Respect the home owner's privacy. Don’t open dresser drawers. Unless they are built-ins they don’t come with the house so they are none of your business. Please be respectful of people’s privacy and don’t snoop in places that aren’t part of the house sale. If you do open drawers in the bathroom, kitchen or elsewhere, don't rifle through the things in the drawer.
5. However, do make sure you open every door. Buyers sometimes walk right by entire rooms because they think it’s a closet and then believe the house is too small. Open doors and cupboards to properly gauge space for living and storage. Also, ask the realtor if there is any more to the property. Sometimes there is another building on the property.
6. Give the real estate agent your feedback on why you aren’t interested in the home by giving explicit reasons such as you were looking for a kitchen with an island or you wanted a home with crown moulding and baseboards. This information will be given to the seller so they have a better idea of what they may need to do to attract buyers.
7. Don’t be harsh or mean in your feedback. Just because you don’t like the pink bathroom doesn’t mean that you have to be insulting by calling it tacky or nauseating. Being excessively negative is not going to look favorably on you and won’t result in a discounted price since these things like this have already been factored into the price. People love their homes and they want to sell to someone who will love it too. If two offers come in at the same price and one is from a cranky, mean couple and the other is from a sweet, happy couple, who do you think is getting the house? Hint: It’s not the mean people.
8. Have your agent's information available. If you are interested in the home, advise the seller’s agent that you are working with a realtor and provide his or her information. Remember, the agent at the open house is working for the seller and not for you. You need to have someone representing you that is on your side and will work in your best interest.