Open house etiquette for buyers
Enter with care
Treat your visit as though you’re visiting a loved one. Be respectful by taking your shoes off at the door and make sure little ones follow your lead (if appropriate – think muddy shoes or gumboots). Wear or take clean socks with you, and leave your food and coffee in the car. There’s no need to knock, but be sure to let the agent know you’re there on arrival.
Be inquisitive, not impolite
Now is your time to ask the agent questions about the property. Discuss previous renovations, the owner’s reason for selling and any known issues with the home. It’s okay to ask if there are any offers, and it can be helpful to ask their opinion of the neighbourhood and nearby schools. Be sure to get the agent’s best contact details for any questions that arise following the open house.
Feel it out
Make yourself at home, respectfully. You’re welcome to open cupboards, look for leaks or squeaks and turn on taps to check the water pressure. But no snooping - you’re in someone’s private space, so their drawers and personal items are off-limits. It is best to double-check with the agent before taking photos or videos, because some owners value their privacy.
You’re only given a few minutes to inspect the property, so make sure you’re prepared. Research the home thoroughly beforehand, so you know what you want to follow up closer in person. Take a notepad with you and jot down notes as you inspect. A tape measurer is also handy to measure dimensions of wardrobes, cupboards and cabinets, and pack a small torch for close-ups.
Don’t forget your manners. Keep your criticisms to yourself while you’re inside the home. If you’d prefer to discuss them, call the agent afterward. Extend your politeness to the agent - they’re doing the best job they can for the owner. Introduce yourself when you meet them, and thank them when you leave. Politeness is the best way to build rapport, so it’s a win-win.