Open house season is ramping up as the Boston area real estate market is heating up!
An open house is an invitation to view a home and, as a guest of the homeowner, you should be respectful of the property and of the person holding the open house. Here are some important open house etiquette tips to get you through the Spring market:
- Sign In – Real estate agents and homeowners request that you sign in primarily for the safety and security of both the home and the agent. If you are working with an agent, it is acceptable to provide your agent’s name or business card during the sign in process. Most agents know that your real name is NOT Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and your phone number is NOT 555-1234. Please be honest – some agents may deny you entry into a property without proper identification.
- Be Respectful and Polite – It goes without saying that you should be respectful when invited into a home. It is also important to be polite to the host/agent but it is NOT necessary to shake their hand (especially during flu season)!
- Leave Food and Beverages Outside – Everyone seems to be carrying massive Starbucks or Dunkins cups around through open houses these days. Accidents can happen very easily, so please leave the food and your large drink in your car!
- Carefully Watch Your Children – Most homes will not be childproofed. Homes often contain staging or other valuables that may present a dangerous situation to your child and an expense to you if something is damaged.
- Wear Your Best Socks – Most homes will require you to remove your shoes and/or wear booties. Please be prepared for this and wear socks that are appropriate to wear in public.
- Use an Open House as a Public Restroom – Would you like strangers to parade through your home after feasting on burritos and beans? No?! Well, the home seller doesn’t either. Their home is not a public restroom. Please respect that.
- Enter the Home from Any Entrance Other than the Front Door or Marked Entrance – It is absolutely inappropriate to enter a home from the back door or basement bulkhead/walkout.
- Cop an Attitude – If a home seller requests that you remove your shoes or sign in, DO IT! Don’t stand and cop and attitude and argue with the agent. You are being invited to view a home – you don’t have a right to be there unless you follow the rules. Should you cop an attitude with an agent, they may politely ask you to leave.
- Show Up Right at the Beginning or End of the Open House – Here’s a secret about real estate agents … are you ready? Sunday is our BUSIEST day of the week! This means that we are often scheduled with back-to-back appointments all day! We are almost always rushing to and from open houses to accommodate our clients. It is best to not show up early or at the very end of the open house. Also, please don’t incessantly ring the doorbell or bang on the door! If no one answers the door, it means that the open house is not yet open or has already concluded.
- Pollute the House – Neighbors often feel compelled to come to open houses and to share gossip about the homeowners, neighbors, neighborhood, etc. If you were selling your home, would you want your neighbors to do this to you? NO?! OK … you should think twice before you do this. Guests who “pollute” an open house with gossip or negativity will most likely be politely asked to leave. Save yourself the embarrassment and just keep your comments and gossip to yourself!
Please remember that sellers are kindly opening their homes to you during an open house as a courtesy. You should treat their home and their agent/open house host with as much respect as you would afford any home that you are an invited guest in! These tips should help you conquer any open houses that you attend this Spring.
Happy House Hunting!