Have you ever been to an open house? Maybe your agent sent you or maybe, you are just a curious neighbor who wants to have a quick looky-loo. Since I have yet to come across the open house handbook, here is the quick rundown of good open house etiquette.
Expectations for The Agent at the Open House
There are really no set guidelines of how real estate agents are supposed to host an open house. Every agent has their own personality, and thus their own way of holding an open house. Of course, professional, polite and unbiased are set standards for all Realtors® but exactly how attentive and engaging the agent is can vary due to their reasoning for hosting the open house.
Here are some extreme examples of how agents can act:
- There is the agent that greets you at the door and points out every “fantastic” feature while you are herded through the home. This agent is probably the seller’s agent, they know that they are coming to the deadline of the listing agreement and are using the hard sell to get someone interested.
- There are those agents who just leave the door ajar, are nowhere to be seen during the tour and will just shrug and point at some informational flyers when asked a question. Clearly this agent is most likely not the listing agent -or- is hosting the open house as a favor.
- Then there are agents that are ultra-friendly, never mention anything about the house and make sure to give you their card when you leave. This agent is most likely not trying to sell the home at all, they are networking and looking for new clients.
Any of these sound familiar? Obviously these are not Carter & Roque Realtors®!
Expectations for Those Looking to Buy
Most of the people who visit open houses are actively seeking to buy a home. The hosting agent will usually ask questions like this: How you found this open house; was it by referral, advertisement or just by luck? Be prepared to talk to the hosting agent about representation, “Do you have an agent?”
Already working with an Agent? Let the hosting agent know your agent’s name and perhaps even have one of their business cards in hand. This will keep that agent from soliciting you to be their client and let them know you are actually interested in buying a home sometime soon (even though it may or may not be this one).
No Agent, no problem. If they ask, be honest and let the hosting agent know that you are still shopping for a buyer’s agent. Open houses are a great way to find out information about the market and other agents. This opportunity will also give you a good idea of how this agent works. Who knows, you might click really well with them and found the agent you will use the rest of your life.
Expectations for Those Looking Just to Look
“Agents know who you are and they know you’re not even remotely interested in buying, ”
Not really, they have no idea if you’re ‘just looking’. But even if they did know, it’s alright; they still want to show you the house! Experienced agents know that, even if you’re not looking now, you may one day –or- you may have a friend who is. Agents want anyone to see their listing not only so you become a walking talking billboard for their listing; it’s also a great way for them to gather feedback about the house to take to their seller.
So don’t feel guilty about going to an open house if you’re not really in the market for a home. The best policy is to just go in and be up front with the agent, “Hi I’m a neighbor and I’ve always admired this house, do you mind if we take a tour?” For all they know, you may just unexpectedly fall in love with the house and wind up buying it.
Expectations For You During the Visit:
- To sign in: This is for security of the home and so the agent can possibly follow up with you later provided you are interested.
- To walk yourself through: If not guided, feel free to amble about checking it out. Feel free to open doors but not drawers. Try not to touch any personal belongings.
- To respect the home: Don’t bring pets, food or muddy shoes. It is not an insult for the agent to offer shoe covers before entering, you would want the same for your home.
- To use inside voices: Chances are you will not be the only ones there, make sure not to disturb others viewing the home.
- To mingle: Try some refreshments if they’re provided, but don’t make a meal of it.
- To ask questions: That’s what the agent is there for; chances are they know all about the neighborhood, schools, local amenities and the homes condition.
- To give feedback: If there is something that turns you off, let the agent know. Maybe they can address it with their owner to make the home more marketable.
Have other questions about open houses? Feel free to contact Your Hometown Real Estate Company! 301.689.0100