A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette
An open house is a great opportunity to tour homes for sale in your community without having to schedule an appointment.
Hitting open houses on a given Sunday can also help you gauge available homes in a market and begin a relationship with a REALTOR® if you have not already found one. If you're new to "Open House Sundays," here are easy tips for making your search for Dallas homes more enjoyable and productive.
- It’s okay to walk in.
You don’t need to ring the doorbell or knock, unless there is a sign posted instructing you to do so. Someone may be outside or at the door to greet you.
- Introduce yourself.
The person hosting the open house may not be the agent who is selling the home, but an associate agent who is hoping to represent a buyer. If you don’t have a REALTOR® representing you, let them know that you are still looking for a buyer's agent. Getting there early allows you to talk with the agent and determine if you want to work with that person.
- Sign in.
You may be asked to sign in and provide contact information. This makes it easier for the seller’s agent to follow up with you. Even if you don’t like the house, it’s still a good idea to leave your phone number or email address, as the agent could have other listings that may interest you. If you prefer not to sign in, make sure to introduce yourself and say hello so the agent can keep an eye on who’s touring the home.
- Beat the crowd.
Try to arrive as soon as the open house starts. (NOT before that time!) The agent will have time to show you around and give your personal attention.
- Don’t show up last minute.
Don’t wait until the last minute to arrive. The REALTOR® has most likely been there all day and is ready to pack it up and head home. You want to take your time when looking at the house, so contact the seller’s agent and arrange a personal showing if you’re running late.
- Wear appropriate, comfortable clothing and shoes.
You don’t want to look under or overdressed, so choose something casual you’d wear every day. Nice jeans and a t-shirt or are fine for attending an open house. You're probably going to be doing a lot of walking, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- It’s okay to politely ask valid questions.
Ask about the seller's motivation and if there are any offers. REALTORS® can also give you insight on the neighborhood and nearby schools. Be prepared to ask questions about plumbing, electrical systems, roof and other major components of the home. Please don’t take an antagonistic tone or corner the agent with countless questions during a busy open house.
- Don’t be nosy.
Of course you want to check out closets and other storage space, but don't go through personal belongings. It’s okay to a quick peek, but don’t disturb any items that are stored in them.
- Don’t criticize.
Remember this is the seller’s home. Don't criticize it during the tour. If there are multiple offers, you don't want the seller selecting another buyer because they heard you saying something negative about their home.