- Created on Friday, 11 May 2012 01:00
Many families who are new to the experience of shopping for a home sometimes find that the open house process is a little confusing. The idea of simply walking into someone else’s home (even when it’s a home they know is on the market) is often uncomfortable, and they’re unsure how to greet the agent who is holding the open house.
If you're wondering about the proper open house etiquette, here are suggestions to help make your open house visit productive.
Agent’s Role at Open Houses
The role of a real estate agent at an open house is simply to provide potential buyers safe access to the home, give them pertinent information, and to answer any queries that the buyer might have on the spot.
Unless there’s a sign asking you to ring the bell or knock, you aren’t expected to do so; please just open the door and walk in. If you don't see an agent, call out "hello," to let the agent know you’re present. The agent will want to greet you and will generally give you an information sheet on the home or outline the home’s details such as the number of bedrooms, the asking price, and any important features.
If the seller has any particular requests as to how the open house should be conducted, the agent will also let you know at this point. These might include removing your shoes before you go around the home, or not going into an area of the home if there’s a pet being kept there during the showing.
Buyer’s Role at Open Houses
The buyer’s role at an open house is to assess the house as a potential home for their family. Many times, buyers simply want to get a feel for the home or mentally prequalify it for a more detailed private showing at a later time. In these cases, an open house is an efficient way to get all the basic information you need to decide if that home should be on your “short list”.
If you are already working with an agent, you should pass on this information to the agent hosting the open. Realtors are required to ask buyers if the buyer is working with another agent, but sometimes they have a memory lapse. The easiest way to inform the agent you meet that you are working with another agent is to walk in with your agent's card in hand. Just give it to the other agent and say, "This is my agent."
If you have not yet decided on an agent, let the agent at the home know that you are still shopping for a buyer's agent. Maybe you will want to interview the agent to determine if you want to work with that person. Open houses are a good way to find an agent because you will meet face-to-face, and you can witness the agent in action.
Finally, it’s polite to give the agent some small feedback on your open house experience as you’re leaving. If you are interested in the home for a private showing, you can give the agent your contact information to follow up at a later time or (if the open house is not busy) schedule that viewing on the spot. If you’re not interested in the home, letting the agent know why it’s not a good match for you gives them important feedback that might help the seller improve their listing for others.