If you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you feel compelled to stop into every open house in the area. Before you do, make sure to follow these 10 open house tips.
1. Visit Only During Open Hours
If an open house is scheduled from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., don’t show up at 11:30 a.m or 3:30 p.m. Sellers take a lot of time and care to get the house ready and usually have to find something to do for several hours when the house is open. You don’t want to catch them off guard with a dust mop in hand. If you miss the open house hours, try scheduling a viewing with your realtor on a different day.
2. Wipe Your Feet
Sellers work really hard to make their home show well, and the last thing they need is someone dragging mud and leaves throughout the house. Do your best to wipe your feet before you enter and if required, take off your shoes.
3. Sign Your Name
As much as you may hate giving the realtor your information to contact you, there is another purpose to providing your info -- security. Sadly there are many cases where someone will walk-in with sticky fingers and lift something of value. You don’t want to be the suspect.
4. Don’t Avoid the Realtor
You may feel like dodging the seller’s agent, but there’s no need to hide. Just let them know you’re already represented and they’ll leave you alone and spend their efforts elsewhere.
5. Keep Your Kids Respectful
While the best thing to do is to hire a sitter while you’re house hunting, if you can’t, then make sure you keep them at your side throughout the entire open house. Better yet, if you have your spouse with you, have them sit outside with your kids while you go in and then switch. Remember there are others looking at the house too, and children hootin’ and hollerin’ can impact their time.
6. Take Turns
If there are others looking at the home, make sure to give them the space they need to look around. If someone is already looking inside a bedroom, wait in the hall until they’re done and hopefully they’ll do the same for you.
7. Don’t Be Nosy
As tempting as it may be to poke around other’s belongings to see how they live, don’t. If you’re truly interested in the home, you can take a more thorough look for a second time. Then if you choose to write an offer, you will have the chance to get a more detailed inspection of the property.
8. Don’t Re-decorate... Yet
When you’re walking around the home, you will more than likely have many ideas on how you’d like to redecorate, or perhaps even gut the place. Try to keep those opinions to yourself. For now, the home still belongs to the owners, and if they’re at the open house, you could offend them. Keep your opinions private or at a whisper until you and your partner, if applicable, can get outside and discuss.
9. Ask Permission First
If you’re wanting to open closets or pantries, or even take a few photos to remember the property better, ask beforehand. Chances are likely that the realtor will allow it, but it's best to ask first.
10. Get In and Get Out
An open house is not the time to linger around and drink several glasses of wine while you eat all the cookies. Walk the home to get an idea of whether it’s the right one for you and ask any necessary questions, but quickly get out. You can always request another showing if you feel serious about the property.
Happy house hunting!
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