By: Bill & Lia McNally, Realtors

Open House Etiquette

Tags: Open House Etiquette

EntVisiting open houses is a great way to familiarize yourself with the local real estate market, whether you are already working with an agent or just starting your search alone. In addition to learning about homes and the market, you will have the opportunity to meet different Realtors, see how they work, and perhaps find one you are comfortable working with.

If you are unfamiliar with proper open house etiquette, please read the following tips to make your experience pleasant for everyone!

To knock or not to knock?- No need to knock, just come in and call out “hello!” to announce your presence to the Realtor.

Watch where you park- Try not to block in other cars or you’ll find your visit interrupted by other attendees, asking you to move your vehicle.

Sign in!- Leave your information on the sign-in registry. If you’re worried about agents calling you, simply add the words ‘please don’t contact me’ bedside your information.

Remove your shoes- After all, you’re in someone’s home, not a store! The seller probably invested hours cleaning to make the home look its best. Return the favor by slipping off your shoes! Tip: wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, especially if you’re planning to visit more than one open house…and don’t forget to wear socks!

Be honest of your intentions- if you’re a neighbor and are not interested in buying, it’s okay and even appreciated for you to say so. It’s a very common occurrence and most agents will gladly welcome you in for a tour of the home. If you get attitude, at least you know which agent not to hire!

Kids: It’s preferable to leave them at home. Otherwise, keep them close by and under control at all times. Agents are working and find it awkward having to remind children not to touch breakable items, jump on the furniture, or run wild.

Bathroom Break?- It’s in poor taste to use the bathroom while attending an open house. If you absolutely must, ask the Realtor for permission and make sure to leave the bathroom as you found it.

Don’t leave us in the dark!- Turning off the lights when you leave a room is a good, energy saving habit to have; however, when you visit an open house, please try to remember to leave them on when you’ve finished with each room.

The Price- Inevitably, you’ll come across a home you feel is overpriced, maybe even grossly so. While you may be correct, quite often you won’t be. Instead of exclaiming “There is no way I would pay X amount for this house! It’s just not worth it!” why not ask the Realtor how the price was determined? Most Realtors will be happy to explain their pricing process to you and review the past sales of comparable homes in the area.

Negative Comments- Your mother was right- if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! While it’s proper and even appreciated to let the agent know, in general terms, why you’re not interested in the house, it’s unnecessary to cut the house to shreds. Especially in front of other potential buyers who may not share your opinion. Say things like “This house isn’t large enough for my family” or “We’re looking for something a little more modern” rather than “Wow, this house is a dump!” or “I can’t believe the shoddy craftsmanship! I wouldn’t live here if you paid me!”

Looking around- Feel free to open closets and cupboard doors to get a sense of storage space and quality, but don’t rummage around the home owners’ possessions.

If you have a lot of questions- and there are other people in the house, try not to monopolize the agent’s time and attention. A few minutes are fine, but half an hour is pushing it. Take the agents card and follow up with a phone call after the open house. You may even want to book a private showing so you can take your time and have the agent’s undivided attention. If there is no one else at the open house though, by all means, stay and chat.

Pay attention to the time: Don’t arrive early or stay past the end. If the open house ends at 4:00 p.m., please don’t show up at the front door at 3:58. By that point the lights will be off, marketing materials packed up, and the house locked. If you really want to see the house, call the number on the ‘for sale’ sign and book a showing.


Bill and Lia McNally are a highly productive real estate team, serving Halton Hills. Interested in a free, no pressure market evaluation for your home? Do you have questions about the process of buying and/or selling real estate? Please call Bill McNally at (905) 877-5165. He’ll be happy to help!

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