Open House Etiquette for Buyers and Sellers

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Open Houses are a great way for sellers to show multiple buyers their home at one time. They are also a great way for prospective buyers to have a chance to check out homes they are interested in purchasing.

That being said, there is proper etiquette to follow on both ends of the open house spectrum. Here we break down both buyer and seller etiquette when it comes to hosting or attending an open house.


Seller Etiquette

  1. Clean up! – This may sound obvious to some, but you would be surprised. Make sure to clean your house and make it look presentable. It will help people like the house even more, which helps the seller!
  2. Don’t Stick Around – Buyers do not feel comfortable when they know the seller is at the open house. It is difficult for them to picture themselves in the home when the current owner is there. Your agent will let you know how the open house went and any feedback they received, so go out, grab some food, hang out with old friends, just don’t be at the house.
  3. No Pets Allowed – Make arrangements for your furry friends to be somewhere else other than your house. You never know who is allergic and although we love them, they don’t always smell the best. With many people entering the home, there could be a chance for Fido to escape. Safety for your pets and the open house guests are always top of mind.
  4. Keep your car out of the driveway – In addition, try and have the front of your home clear of neighbor’s cars as it makes maneuvering harder. You want to try and accommodate your visitors.

Buyer Etiquette

  1. Be Respectful – Again, we know this is an obvious one, but we still need to have it on our list. Don’t go through people’s drawers or cabinets. Don’t move things around or touch everything in sight. Remember this isn’t your house yet.
  2. Come Prepared – Always bring a pen and pad of paper to take down any notes. If square footage or measurements of any kind are important to you be sure to bring a tape measure.
  3. Keep Your Kids Close to You – The Home Search can be a family affair, but please be mindful that the open house is sometimes the only opportunity for a buyer to see a home, please keep your children close by.
  4. Remember the Old Saying? – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Remember this is someone’s home so please refrain from saying anything negative, you never know who is listening.
  5. Don’t Snoop – This goes along with being respectful, but we would like to clarify that it is OK to look at what is staying with the home such as closes and cabinets, however, anything that is not included in the sale, should not be opened such as bedroom furniture.
  6. Even if you don’t have to go, try – By this we mean, before leaving to go to an open house try to use the bathroom because you should never use one at an open house! Buyers may only have a few minutes to see the home and if the bathroom is occupied they will not be able to see it.
  7. Ask Permission before taking photos or videos – Some homeowners may not want photos being taken of their home for various reason so always make sure to ask. If you get permission, be mindful of not taking photos of personal belongings or information or people. Not everyone wants to be in your photos.
  8. Please be prepared to sign in – When signing in, you may put your own contact info or the info of your REALTOR. Please remember that although it is an open house, it is still the seller’s home and you are their guest. A sign in sheet helps the seller gauge the interest of the home. If you have specific questions about the home, the agent will be able to get back to you after the open house to answer any questions. If you love the home and the seller decides to include an offer review date, you will be notified, if there is a price adjustment you will be notified (or your agent). Also, safety concerns. With many people touring the home, not everyone is there with the same intention, signing in helps keep the agent and the home safe. If you do not wish to be contacted, you can ask the agent privately not to contact you, unless it is in regard to the home.

It’s exciting to be in the home search! For both buyers and sellers, new beginnings are right around the corner- and open houses are key in this process!  Keeping these tips in mind is helpful in keeping the experience pleasant for everyone involved- no one wants to sell to or buy from someone they feel is inconsiderate.  Being respectful of people’s homes and experience will help everyone involved.

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