I spend most days viewing homes on behalf of our buyers, however in a previous life, I was a sales associate and experienced all kinds of eye-opening actions taken by buyers at open homes. An open home is a great opportunity for buyers to inspect a property and for sellers to showcase their home. Open homes can be fun and exciting, they also require some etiquette and common sense.
Respect the property and their privacy of the sellers, and follow any rules or instructions that the agent might have.
Here are some of my tips and guidelines on Open Home Etiquette:
Before entering a property be prepared to take off shoes at the front door. This shows respect to the agent and the homeowners, especially if the floors are newly carpeted, polished or renovated.
I have seen buyers come through an open home, where they had just finished at football training & still had the cleats on, covered in mud and grass, and have walked through the home tracking mud across the carpets that then needed to be steamed cleaned at the expense of this buyer- that ended up being an expensive viewing of a property they didn’t end up purchasing.
Once inside the home, avoid touching or moving any furniture, such as tables, chairs, lamps or artworks. Again, this shows respect to the seller and the property, as well as to avoid any accidents or damage you may cause.
Previously, I sold a property for a family where the dad was fully blind and the mum had low vision impairment. The couple knew their way around their home from the furniture spacing, however upon their return home, the dining table and chairs had been moved to line up aesthetically with walls, however it threw out the family on their spacing and they were then running into other walls and furniture.
As buyers, you are welcomed to view the storage areas, shelving and wardrobe space, however, I suggest confirming with the agent before you start opening cupboards or pantry doors. Be discreet when looking inside and avoid touching or moving anything. Close any cupboards, drawers or doors after you’re done. During one open home, I have seen a buyer open a seller’s fridge and help themselves to fruit and snacks for their children to keep them quiet, however the children have left half eaten fruit hidden in cupboards for the home owners to come home to find. YUCK!
Walking through someone’s bedroom is a very private space. It is never ok to lay on a bed in an open home or touch the bedding, pillows and blankets. Look past the accessories, observe the size of the bed and the room furnishings that have been used to fill the space and work out if the room is large enough to accommodate your own bedroom furniture. I have seen buyers come through at the start of a very busy open home who looked as though they had too many drinks from the night before. When we were closing up the home at the end of the scheduled open time, we realised we hadn’t seen these buyers leave! We found them passed out in one of the bedrooms, tucked under the blankets and all!!
Avoid using the bathroom at an open home. Agents consider this to be inappropriate, rude and very disrespectful behaviour to the homeowner that has opened their home for you to view. However, if it’s urgent you should ask permission from the agent, be quick and clean, don’t forget to flush!
Bringing children to open homes can possess some challenges and risks. Apart from the normal struggles of dragging children in and out of multiple homes, make sure that your kids are safe around pools. In summer it can get very hot and the pools at an open home can look very enticing. I have seen children wander off from mum and dad to inspect the pool. The children have stripped down to their underwear and dived into the pool for a swim. The absolute shock and embarrassment on the parent’s face, they couldn’t get the children out of the pool fast enough and kept apologising.
By following these simple tips, you can show respect and courtesy to the seller and the agent when attending open homes. If you’d prefer to have your weekend’s back, contact me to see how the team at JBBA can help.
Buyers Associate at Joanna Boyd Buyers Advocate