Open House Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on August 30, 2010

in Everyday Etiquette

everyday openhouse etiquette

Even if the owners aren’t present during an open house, that doesn’t give you the right to be a bad house guest!  Brush up on your open house etiquette here to avoid embarrassment there!

When you are trying to sell your home, open houses are a necessary evil. You are kicked out of your own home every weekend so people can wander around it, peeking in your closets and judging your furnishings when they probably have no intention of buying and were merely curious. You can only hope they know appropriate open house etiquette (or you can just print this out in large font and stick it to your fridge!).

Open House Etiquette 101

  • Ask before entering the home if shoes are allowed. A good realtor will post a sign if shoes should be removed, but, just in case the realtor is a newbie, it is always polite to ask first.
  • Also ask for permission before snapping pictures of the home. This is more of a formality, as the realtor and house owner should understand that you are looking at a bunch of homes and the pictures help keep your mind straight. But, just in case the home owner does not want pictures of their home floating around (especially as you might be a burglar casing the joint instead of a prospective home buyer), simply ask and respect the answer!
  • It is acceptable and expected that you will be looking in the home’s closets and cupboards. However, there is absolutely no need for you to rummage through them! And don’t help yourself to whatever food items they have in the house unless it is something specific the realtor set out for guests.
  • Do not bring outside food and drink into the home to eliminate the risk of an accident.
  • Unless it is an absolute emergency, it is not common to ask to use the restroom of the open house.
  • If you do not like the property, keep your comments private until you are out of the house. Maybe the realtor is actually the owner; maybe it is a close family friend; or maybe there is another person viewing the home that absolutely loves it and your comments destroy their desire to purchase the home. Just be nice and keep your mouth shut!

Photo: 123rf/Vladimir Voronin

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