Yesterday, I discussed what was positive about open houses for your Windsor property. And while they aren’t as valuable as they once were, I don’t think they are going away any time soon. Open houses still exist every weekend in every part of our community so I think it’s always valuable to discuss open house etiquette periodically throughout the year. There are certain things buyers and sellers just should not do. I mentioned in yesterday’s post what sellers should never do, so today, I thought I would discuss the big do’s and don’t’s for buyers. It never hurts to be reminded what is acceptable in these cases, and what is not.
1. Keep your children close:
Unfortunately, children often run loose during an open house and this can be very distracting to others that are also touring the property. It’s always a good idea to find a babysitter if at all possible as, let’s face it, open houses can be pretty boring for anyone under the age of 14. There are just so many other things they would rather be doing. But if you do bring children, please keep them close by. It also is a safety concern and the last thing any home owner wants is to have an accident on their property.
2. Be nice about the home:
While you don’t have to love a home, it is always in good taste not to make any mean or nasty comments. You never know who you are standing next to. Rather than say, “Ugh! Who would paint their bedroom orange?” Say, “It’s not my choice of colours.” Remember, this is still someone’s home and while it may not be ready for a magazine cover, you don’t want to risk offending anyone.
3. Ask permission:
If you would like to take pictures or video of a home, please ask the real estate agent if you may. Some owners have expensive homes with beautiful one of a kind artwork or collections, and they may not want this information exposed. Always ask first.
4. Using bathrooms:
If you need to use the bathroom, ask an agent first which one is allowed. Don’t assume that every bathroom is available for public use.
5. Don’t open drawers in personal furniture:
While looking at closets and built-in furniture is acceptable, it is not proper to open dresser drawers or snoop through personal items.
6. Be careful of furniture:
An open house is meant to casually walk around a home, not sit and visit with friends or family members. We have seen people sit down in living rooms and make themselves at home. Again, this can be a distraction for many.
7. Don’t consume the agent’s attention:
A real estate agent is there to talk with all potential buyers that walk through the home. Don’t sit down and talk to him or her for a long period of time. They have work to do and need to give their full attention to every person that walks through the property. If you would like to discuss the home with the agent in further detail, then make an appointment to have a private showing.
8. Don’t bring in food or drinks:
It is never a good idea to walk into an open house with drinks and food. Sellers prepare for an open home by cleaning it throughly, and often get carpets professionally cleaned. It’s a huge disappointment then if food or drinks spill causing a stain. This is especially true if the home has lots of showings scheduled.
9. Don’t bring Fido inside:
Many people who like to tour open houses, bring in their smaller animals to carry around the house. However, this is never a good idea. Other buyers, or even the sellers, may have animal allergies, so it’s best to keep any small animals away. As much as we love our pets, we have to remind ourselves that others may not.
10. Don’t share too much information:
If you truly love the home and are interested in looking at it further, it may be in your best interest not to reveal how much you want the property. Remember, showing too much emotion could affect your bargaining power.
Finally, when you arrive at an open house, go ahead and walk in without knocking unless there is a note directing otherwise. If an agent is busy, then pick up the flyer and take a self guided tour of the property. There are those agents that will make every effort to assist you, and others who simply advise you to look around. If you have an agent, then make sure and let the agent hosting the open house know so they won’t try to get your business.