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Open HOuse 101

A hundred online photos and
even a virtual tour can’t match
the feeling you get while
standing inside a house. Open
houses allow you to get up close
and personal with a home you’re
considering buying.
There are, however, some
guidelines to follow to get the
most out of the experience
and be a courteous guest in a
stranger’s home.
Agent Matters

If you’re already working with
a buyer’s agent, in general you
should only tour homes with
your agent. However, it’s OK to
stop by an open house without
your agent, as long as you let
the listing agent know that you
already have representation and
list your agent’s name on the
sign-in sheet. (The listing agent
should ask.) It’s a good idea to
let your agent know you will be
visiting open houses, in case
they get a follow-up call from a
listing agent.
If you don’t yet have a buyer’s
agent, let the listing agent know
that, as well. You could even set
up a time to interview him for
the job, if you’re interested after
getting to see him in action.

Looky-Loos
If you’re just curious about a
home or don’t think you’ll be
interested in the home but want
to take a look around anyway,
be honest with the agent. It’s
OK to have a look, but don’t
misrepresent your intentions.
Agents don’t mind showing
curious neighbors a home. They
are interested in your feedback
and hope you will spread the
word to friends and family. You
might even make a connection
with an agent you might
consider hiring for a future sale
or purchase.
Gather Information
The open house is your
opportunity to see issues with a
home that professional photos
don’t represent. You can’t exactly
kick the tires, but you should
go about viewing the home in
an organized way so that you
collect necessary information.
Be sure to check out any unique
features of the home. Does the
whole-home vacuum work? How
does the roof look? Keep an eye
out for any evidence of delayed
maintenance, such as water
stains, or evidence of repairs.
Are the windows airtight? Does
the bathroom have cracking

grout? Are there any areas that
will need updating? Take notes
for future reference. After you’ve
attended a few open houses, it
can be difficult to recall details
about each home. It’s also a
good time to ask questions. Have
there been any recent repairs
or renovations? How old is the
furnace? The agent will likely
have this information on hand.
The Rules
Here are some etiquette rules
to follow while hitting open
houses.
1. You don’t need to ring the
doorbell. The agent will likely be
busy talking to potential buyers
and showing off the home.

There’s no need to ring the bell.
Just let yourself in.
2. Take off your shoes or use
provided booties. Respect the
owners’ space and follow any
specific posted rules.
3. Introduce yourself and sign
in. For safety and courtesy
purposes, make the proper
introductions before ambling
through a stranger’s home.
4. Be courteous. Wait to enter
a room until other guests have
left the room. Don’t use the
bathroom or look through the
seller’s belongings.
5. Supervise children and be
sure they also are respectful of
others’ property.

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