Open House Etiquette

Tuesday February 22, 2022

With inventory virtually nonexistent and interest rates continuing at all-time lows the amount of buyers out there is ridiculous. This past weekend we had an open house with over 150 people in 3 hours. In my 19+ years as a realtor I have never had that many people at an open house. It was simply crazy. My sellers opened their home to anyone and everyone, with that said there are a few “unwritten” rules that should be followed when you attend an open house. I thought it might be time to write down those “unwritten” rules:

Respect the Time: Most of my open houses begin with a big crowd right when the open house starts which trickles down to just a few over time. Near closing time there is always a buyer who comes just a few minutes before closing or as I am walking to my car. I am happy to open the house up again for them but oftentimes I am on my way to an appointment or even another open house. Also, the seller will want or need to get back into their home at a specific time. If you can’t make the time that the house is open, call and set up a private showing. 

Be Upfront: If you are a neighbor who has no interest in buying just let me know. If you are just looking, that is certainly fine, as the house is open to everyone. If you are someone who is planning on buying soon and the house is one you are interested in, please let me know. You aren’t giving away any bargaining position by simply letting the listing agent know you have interest.

Sign Up Please: Usually at an open house a signup sheet is put out to track visitors. Please sign in. If you don’t want a call or email from the realtor just say so. If you are working with another realtor you can mention that as well. 

Be Courteous: Please remember that this isn’t your house. You are welcome to open closets, cabinets and examine the home thoroughly; however, starting a game of pool or ping pong in the game room isn’t necessary. Most homeowners (and their realtor representative) will be fine with you using the bathroom (“just checking the plumbing”) or accessing a crawl space or attic, just ask for permission first as a courtesy.

Don’t play “Stump the realtor”: While we try to be as knowledgeable as we can about the home and the area, we don’t know everything. I was asked this weekend dozens of times how old the roof was. I told every buyer that my seller had not replaced it in the ownership and wasn’t sure. For the large majority that was fine, some weren’t happy with that answer and let me know.

Be Nice: I am happy to help you if your car is blocked in, but screaming at me that it is “your job” to move cars isn’t going to help. I am also happy to move your car out of a snow bank that YOU parked in. Driving into 6” of snow in your front wheel car in retrospect (and at the time as I watched you do it) wasn’t a good idea. Yes, these things happened last weekend. 

None of these items are difficult to remember or hard to follow. The golden rule comes into play here and so as long as you respect everyone’s basic needs of courtesy and privacy, an open house can be a great opportunity for home buyers to get an excellent look at a property. Happy House Hunting!

If you have any questions or are looking to buy or sell a home please contact me, John McCarthy at Rowley Realty, 165 Main St., Rowley, MA 01969, Phone: 978 948-2758, Cell 978 835-2573.

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