If you’re just starting your home search and aren’t sure what type of home you’re looking for, open houses are a convenient way to view homes without scheduling an appointment. It’s easy to daydream about homes you see on the internet, but, oftentimes, you can’t get a clear perspective on size and layout until you step into one. Viewing homes can take a lot of time, so the more you can narrow your needs and wants, the better. But it’s important to note there is some etiquette buyers should display when attending an open house:
- Be polite. Yes, you are a buyer and the home owner DOES want to sell their home, but they can just as easily tell you “no” as you can refuse to make an offer. So, it’s best for you to use all your manners while dealing with the hosting agent, who may or may not be their personal agent.
- Notify the hosting agent if you are working with another real estate agent. Realtors are required to follow a code of ethics and that includes upholding a level of transparency with other agents. They are not to provide any sort of counseling or advice, or pursue a business relationship with another agent’s clients. Additionally, any follow-up should be done through your agent.
- Give your name and contact info, if requested. After the Beverly Carter tragedy, you can be assured that there will be increasingly more agents implementing extra security measures, especially when they are completing job tasks that require them to be alone with strangers, like hosting an open house. Additionally, it’s important to track who enters the home in case any damages or a theft occurs. If you don’t want to be contacted about the home, let them know. They are required to abide by your requests.
- If you’re a neighbor, don’t be shy to admit it. After all, most agents can recognize a neighbor from a mile away. We’re not opposed to neighbors walking through the house. We recognize that they’re often a source for buyers, because friends and family want to live near each other. So, come, take a look, and let us know if you might have anyone interested.
- Consent to homeowner requests. If the hosting agent asks you to remove your shoes or wear booties, please be agreeable. You’re in another person’s home, and they have their own rules for keeping their home clean.
- Please don’t chat on your cell phone. It’s just a matter of courtesy to the hosting agent, who is there to answer your questions and show you the home. It can also be disturbing to other people viewing the home.
- Don’t touch anything. It’s expected that buyers will want to open cabinets and closet doors to see how much storage a home has, but don’t touch any personal belongings, especially the prized autographed baseball on display in the den or the desktop computer in the home office…just examples!
If you follow these simple guidelines, visiting open houses will be a breeze and, if you’re in the greater Wilmington area, you could win money by visiting homes during Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage’s “Coast In & Win” Weekends (keep an eye on our site for announcements).