For anyone unfamiliar with purchasing homes, open houses can be a great way of determining if a property is right for you.
Attending open houses can be a wonderful way of visiting a house to see if it fits your liking. You get to tour the house with the help of your real estate agent, and imagine yourself living on and in the property. An open house gives you insight on what it would be like to live there.
In order to maximize your experience and respect the property and agent, here are some rules on attending open houses.
First and foremost, do not park in the owners’ driveway. The front yard is a piece of the property; you can park in the driveway once you own the house.
If this property has a realty sign out front and it is advertised as an open house, there is no need to ring the doorbell or knock. However, you should remember to wipe your feet before entering. You don’t want to dirty up someone else’s house.
Remember that it is someone else’s home, so be respectful and ask permission to take pictures. Avoid touching items and opening drawers, unless the agent gives permission or encourages you to do so. If you need to use the restroom, ask permission.
If there is something you do not like about the house, keep it to yourself until after the open house. The agent is working hard to sell the home, and it is disrespectful to speak poorly about their work.
If an agent does not greet you upon entering, they may be assisting someone else, so call out to let them know you have arrived. The agent present is the person in charge so all questions should be regulated to him or her. Do not spend too much time asking the agent questions; they need to be available for all visitors viewing the house. If the agent asks you to sign a register, they may be using it for marketing, so make sure you include contact information along with your name. There is generally information sheets available in the fly box or inside the house, be sure to take one and read over the sheet for basic information. The agent is there to provide a tour and answer any questions so treat them with respect.
Remember, the agent present at the open house is representing the seller, not you. Therefore, they do not have your best interest in mind. Their job is to sell the house at the highest possible price to make themselves and their client money. Your real estate agent exists to represent and protect you from bad deals. Attending an open house without your agent’s knowledge may cost you your representation. An agent does not want to work with a client who does things without consulting them; this could result in more work and a loss of money for your agent.
When your agent attends an open house with you, they can point out all problem areas in the house that the seller’s agent will not tell you. You should never feel like you are pestering your agent in asking them to attend an open house with you. It is their job to represent you and be available at all times. If your agent is not available to attend the open house, let them know which open house you would like to attend so that they may contact the seller’s agent and let them know you will be arriving. When you enter the open house, let the agent know that you are represented and give them the name of your agent.
A good way to avoid problems is to have a buyer’s agency agreement signed with your agent. Signing this agreement establishes an official relationship with your real estate agent and will protect you from a forceful listing agent. If you are a buyer it is best to keep in close contact with your agent at all times. The real estate business can be dangerous and confusing, but your agent is trained to know exactly how to handle the process and paperwork.