When you’re on the hunt for your dream home, open houses will quickly become your weekend activity of choice. The 2-4pm time slot on Saturdays and Sundays will be occupied with cruising your favourite neighbourhoods to compare and contrast the offering in that particular market.
Whether you are an old pro, or just beginning the search for your very first home, here are a few tips to keep in mind when navigating the practice of open houses.
1. Open houses are just that, open! There is no need to knock or ring the doorbell, just walk on in.
2. Unless otherwise stated, the courteous thing is to remove your shoes upon arriving at an open house. The agent on duty will indicate if shoes are required to tour any part of the house (ie. an unfinished basement).
3. Although it is a common practice for the homeowner to vacate the property during an open house, it is always best to reserve blunt or potentially negative comments for discussion afterward.
4. While it is important to get a feel for storage space in a home you are considering purchasing, it is important to respect the privacy of the current homeowner. Opening closet doors is allowed (and the seller should be prepared for that), but don’t go around opening bathroom and dresser drawers.
5. If you are working with a buyer agent, but attending an open house solo, make sure to inform the open house agent that you are already working with another agent.
6. Often times, neighbours will attend open houses to get a peek inside and size up their own property value. If that’s you, don’t be embarrassed to admit you are a neighbour. In fact, informing the open house agent of this will ensure that they can spend their time with serious purchasers.
7. You may be tempted to take photos at an open house to share with a friend or family member, or for recalling specific details after the fact. Many sellers and agents are OK with this, but always be sure to ask before taking pictures or video.
8. An open house is a great time to ask probing and pointed questions about the home while things are fresh in your mind and you are standing in the space. Come armed with a few key things you would like to learn about the home or the neighbourhood.
9. Don’t forget to leave your mark! If you are interested in possibly pursuing the property after the open house, make sure to leave your name, agent name and contact info so you can continue the conversation.