You’re finally in front of the home you’d like to own, ready to step inside for Open House. As you approach the front door, a real estate agent comes out to greet you, and your mind goes blank. What should you ask? What types of features should you look for? Make sure you’re prepared for this encounter by knowing what to avoid at Open House.
1. Avoid anything inappropriate
This first topic sounds pretty vague, but that’s because it also covers a lot of areas. Even if you may never see the host (usually the real estate agent or owner) or other attendees again, plan your outing like you’re making a good first impression. This means don’t wear your clubbing clothes, and don’t act wild inside the home. It’s best to be polite (especially to the host) and wear normal clothes that you look presentable in. Other inappropriate things to avoid at Open House include asking for personal details about the owner, arguing with the host or other attendees over listing price or features, or bringing your pets (or children, if you can’t control them). Whatever you do, under any circumstances: don’t eat all the cookies that the seller has left out!
2. Don’t give out too much information
Revealing too much information is one of the most important things to avoid at Open House. When you go to an Open House hosted by a real estate agent, you probably already know that they will be interested in helping you either buy that home or find another one. If you prepare for this going into the Open House, you’ll be much better suited to handle anything that comes your way. If you would like to enlist the help of an agent to find your home (it’s free, after all), then go ahead and talk with the hosting agent about starting your home search. Chances are you won’t end up buying the home where the Open House is located, so you probably won’t have to worry about telling too much about your situation. However, if you DO plan to buy the home, be sure you don’t give up too much information about your home buying situation and needs. The agent works for the seller of the home, meaning they will do what they can do score the best deal for their client. Don’t give up any leverage that you have, and make sure you hide your emotions about the home! A good real estate agent will be looking for those cues when they see you may be interested in buying.
3. Avoid unnecessary criticism
One topic that many potential home buyers forget to avoid at Open House is to hold their most extreme criticism until after they leave. It’s easy to forget that what you’re looking at isn’t just a product for sale, but also a personal belonging that the seller has attachment to. If the seller is hosting the open house, offering rude remarks or distasteful comments about the home is a good way to get kicked out of the home, or at the very least have your offer rejected. Even if a real estate agent is hosting the Open House, you never know what other attendees could be friends, neighbors, or even the seller in disguise! Aside from the moral objections you’d face, you could lose out on a deal if the seller gets wind of your negativity and chooses to accept a similar offer over yours. Keep in mind, it’s fine to share your thoughts with the host or your companions if they’re normal, polite opinions — not everyone has the same taste. The seller will benefit from knowing about small issues and hearing typical feedback (e.g. you don’t like the wallpaper, the carpet looks too old, etc.), but they won’t appreciate you bad-mouthing their home!
4. Avoid your urges to touch and snoop
There’s something about human nature that makes us have this uncontrollable urge to explore and experience things! This definitely translates into something to avoid at Open House. Sellers often instruct their hosts to keep certain doors closed if they don’t want attendees going into those rooms. This sometimes happens if the room is unpresentable, poses a danger to viewers, or if it’s currently being remodeled. Whatever the reason, you should honor the wishes of the host, even if they step away from the door for a while. Along the same lines, it’s also important to refrain from touching or going through personal items. It can be OK to sit on furniture (usually if it is included with the sale), but you should never rummage through drawers or containers. It’s also a good idea to ask the Open House host if you’re unsure about anything. Sometimes a door may be closed just because another attendee accidentally closed it! You should also ask the host if it’s OK to take photos if you’re hoping to show the home to someone else or revisit the photo subject later. The host will almost always tell you it’s OK, but they’ll probably thank you for asking.
You hear a lot about what tactics or topics you should address when you go see a home, but it’s not often you hear about what to avoid at Open House. If you follow the steps above, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience, and the seller will more strongly consider your offer should you make one. If you’d like to speak more about what you can do to have a better Open House experience, send us a message on Facebook!