It’s Sunday afternoon, and even though you can smell the chocolate chip cookies baking in the kitchen, you pray this will be your last open house. My husband and I spent a year looking at real estate, and we felt this way every Sunday. If you’re in the process of looking for a new home, your search will be smoother if you follow these rules of engagement at each open house.
Do’s and Don’ts
• Don’t park in the owner’s driveway.
• If the property has been listed in the paper or online, or a realty sign is posted out front, there’s no need to knock or ring the bell before entering.
• Wipe your feet on the doormat, especially on a rainy day!
• If you are not greeted by a sales rep or agent, call out to let him or her know you are present.
• The open-house rep may or may not be the listing agent. Either way, he or she is in charge
• If you have any questions about procedure, ask the rep or agent, but don’t monopolize his or her time. Alain-Martin Pierret of Sotheby’s Healdsburg advises, “Never bombard the agent with too many questions, as this agent must remain available to all visitors.”
• If asked to sign a register, do so with your name and contact info. The agent may use it as marketing info.
• If you are already working with an agent, that’s okay; just let the agent on site know.
• If you are a neighbor who is curious about the home, don’t waste the agent’s time asking information. The open-house information sheet will be available for you to take home.
• Be respectful of the home and its contents, even if it is obviously staged. Says Agnes Williams of Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park, “A home is a very personal and special place. While at an open house, always ask permission from the agent if you wish to take photos of the interior of the home.”
• Never touch personal items in the house or open drawers or closed doors.
• Ask permission before using the bathroom. It’s a private home, after all.
• Avoid saying anything negative about the home while on site. If it did not meet your expectations, save that conversation for the ride home.
• An agent or sale rep at an open house is a professional who is there to provide information, offer a guided tour, and answer any questions; treat him or her with respect.
• If you don’t like what you see, keep looking. As the saying goes, sometimes we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find the prince. Happy house hunting!