Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

How To Behave at Open Houses

Posted in House Hunting,Open Houses by Jeff Dowler on July 2, 2007


I suspect many of your first time buyers are going to open houses to learn more about the market and get a feel for home values in different neighborhoods.

Some of you may be going about the home search on your own, without using an agent at this stage, and are using open houses to perhaps find the home of your dreams. And some folks just like going to open houses but are not really serious about buying…or are not acting as if they are serious.

Having sat at a lot of open houses, and going to many of them on my own and with buyers, I have found that some folks know how to behave, while others seem to have no idea. And perhaps they don’t know what to expect about going to an open house.

An open house is there for buyers to tour during a specific period of time, rather than being required to make an appointment and show up with an agent. You are a guest in the seller’s home and should act accrordingly. Yes, the home is for sale, but that does not mean that you treat the property as if it were your own. You are free to walk around, inside and out, and explore the property, but the listing agent may wish to accompany you…as is their prerogative. They ARE responsible for the home in the seller’s absence and liable for any problems that may arise.

Typically the door wll be open, but if not you are welcome to walk in (there should be an Open House sign in the yard). Feel free to ask the agent any questions that you have, and take a look at any feature sheets on the property so you have all the details.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Please be courteous. Take off your shoes if requested (it’s not common, but they may have new flooring or carpet). Be sure to wipe your feet.
  • Let the agent know who you are, and if you are working with another agent PLEASE let them know, especially if they don’t ask.
  • Sign the guest register. You are a guest and they have a right to know who you are. But if you do not want any follow-up from the agent, be sure to let him/her know. They should respect your wishes.
  • Please control your children. They shouldn’t be playing in the house as they would at home, jumping on the furniture, handling the seller’s things, and so on. If they don’t understand, take turns watching the kids, or take them outside. How would you feel about someone else’s children running rampage in YOUR home? They are probably excited, or bored, so keep this in mind.
  • If you wish to use the bathroom, please ask. And remember you are a guest. Sometimes water is turned off (they should tell you this but just in case…).
  • Leave things as you found them. If you open a door, shut it. If you turn on a light, turn it off. Make sure you don’t leave outside doors open, and be wary if any pets the seller has not contained.

If you need any assistance with your real estate search, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at


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