One of the best ways to get your feet wet in the home buying process is by going to an open house. Open houses can be an excellent way to visit homes and get a good idea of what homes are like in specific prices ranges without an agent. Knowledge of home prices can also help you talk with different agents and get an idea of what you are looking for in an agent. It is important to remember, however, that the people that are hosting an open house are looking for serious buyers and there is some proper etiquette involved with visiting an open house.
While it may not seem that this is important to a buyer, the real estate agent is observing you and giving feedback to the seller. If the sale is between multiple bidders, your impression may be a determining factor.
Entering a Home
It is important to remember that despite the fact that this is an Open House, this is still another person’s home. It is currently their property and could someday be yours. Treat the house of another person with the respect that you hope they would treat yours. It is courteous to find the broker and follow the lead of what the broker is doing. They may be informal and allow you to wonder the home, or they may be more formal and take you on a guided tour. Many brokers, especially on the more expensive property, may ask for some information like names and phone numbers. They may also ask if you are already working with an agent.
Walking through the home
As there may be several other families walking through the house at the same time, make sure you are giving proper respect to them as well. If they are in a room, wait until they finish before entering. Allow them to inspect a place at their own pace.
As many open houses involve people still living in the home, things are still in drawers and shelves. Rifling through a homeowner’s possessions is inappropriate. It is especially inappropriate to look in medicine cabinets.
Also keep comments about some of the flaws of the house between you, your family and your agent. You shouldn’t share your comments with others at the open house. Allow them to make their impressions.
Before you Leave
It is considered polite to treat the home with the respect of any home you visit. Before leaving, make sure to the thank the agent showing the house. Make sure you sign the visitor sheet and if requested give your contact information.
Remember as a buyer, an agent’s impressions of you are as important as your opinions are of the house.