Open House Etiquette

Homeowners roll out the welcome mat at open houses

Homeowners roll out the welcome mat at open houses

Open House Etiquette   Tis the season for open houses with the Cambridge real estate market already in full swing.

When you’re at an open house you’re essentially a guest of the home owner.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

Leave the coffee outside  I’m not sure what’s happened to make everyone walk around holding a cup. I’m as big a coffee addict as the next person (ok – bigger) but it wouldn’t occur to me to bring my drink with me when I go into a store or an open house. It’s even more mystifying given the proliferation of cup holders in cars nowadays. Long and short – leave your drinks outside when you visit an open house.

Hold onto the kids  If children are accompanying you to open houses you’ll want to keep a tight rein on them.  Many houses and condos that you’ll visit won’t be child-proofed.  There’s often expensive art and breakable objects at very turn – disasters waiting to happen. If your kids haven’t been taught to look-but-not-touch then you’ll really want to hold on to them tightly.

If you can’t say something nice … then don’t say anything at all.  It’s simply bad form to dis the house or condo that you’re visiting – at least within earshot of other visitors. I know sometimes it’s tempting to make a negative remark as a strategy when you like a place – how better to dissuade your competition?  More often than not, though, it’s just some negative nellies who loudly discuss what they perceive to be shortcomings.  Best to save your critique for long after you leave. 

Wear your good socks  While I typically encourage homeowners to allow visitors to wear shoes there’s a good chance, particularly if the weather is bad, that you’ll be asked to remove your shoes.  Good socks and easily removed shoes will make the process slightly less onerous.  It’s a lesson real estate agents learn early in their careers – the socks with holes have to be weeded from the sock drawer.

Don’t be shy about signing in   It’s some sort of reflex that many of us have (I admit it – I was prone to it too when I went to open houses as a hobby many years ago)  – we don’t want to sign in on the guest register.  But be brave.  It’s a simple request and given that you’re a guest in someone’s home – an unknown guest at that – it’s only fair to the homeowner.  If you’re working with an agent sign in with his or her name or add it to the sheet. That way if there’s info to be shared, offers coming in or whathaveyou, we can call your agent. 

That’s it – my advice from the real estate trenches.  See you out there on Sunday!

Categories: Buyer Info
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