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The Dos and Don’ts of Open House Etiquette

We often hear people ask, “Do I need to take my shoes off at an open house?” or “Is it okay to use a bathroom when viewing a home?” Well, the answers to these burning questions and others that frequently pop up are finally revealed right here. Follow these dos and don’ts so your open house goes as smoothly as a Sun Title closing.  

Do remove your shoes

There, we said it! If you’re not sure whether to keep your shoes on, the safest bet is to just take them off. That way, a seller recognizes that you respect the home and are serious about taking good care of it if you decide to buy. Plus, there is truly no circumstance in which this gesture isn’t appreciated, regardless of whether it’s necessary. Just remember to pick out some nice socks that day.

Don’t be late…or arrive too early!  

First impressions can make a big difference and if you come rolling in to see the home later than your appointment or far before the allotted time of the showing, well that just screams, “I’m disrespectful and rude!”  which brokers will absolutely relay to the sellers. Brokers are there to look out for their clients after all so making a positive impression with them is the first step in a good buyer-seller relationship not to mention your chance to win the bid.

Do ask first

This goes for taking pictures of the house as well as looking in closets, sitting on furniture, opening blinds or pretty much touching anything in any room. It’s natural to want to look at everything, but try to keep your hands out of the picture unless you ask politely up front what is fair game. Be respectful though. No one wants a stranger rifling through their things, which brings us to probably the biggest no-no of all:

Don’t look at or touch personal belongings!

Opening a pantry door is one thing (after you ask if it’s okay of course!), but opening dresser drawers and medicine cabinets or picking up picture frames and knick-knacks is crossing a major open house etiquette line! You wouldn’t like some random person off the street looking in your underwear drawer, now would you?

Do go to the bathroom BEFORE you get there

Not only should you avoid turning on faucets and flushing toilets, but you should most definitely NOT use the bathroom while you’re there. Take care of your business prior to your visit, and if you’re curious whether fixtures work, remember you can find out with an inspection later. Bottom line? If you really have to go, you really have to leave and come back another time.

Don’t discuss details until AFTER you leave

Picking the place apart or talking about how you’d change it isn’t exactly the best way to get on a seller’s good side. Keep your comments to yourself until you get in the car, then by all means discuss away!

Do ask for information

In addition to asking about what you can and cannot look at, go ahead and gather as much information as you can about the house, it’s history, what has been replaced or repaired and what the neighborhood and neighbors are like. This is all appropriate and good information to have to make an educated decision whether to buy.

 Don’t bring kids

At least for initial visits, it’s a good idea to leave the kids at home when viewing a new house. That way, you will be less distracted and able to concentrate on all the details of the tour. Plus, not only can kids sometimes be distracting, but they can also be difficult to control, and that’s not good in someone else’s home! Even the most well-behaved kids can get bored and have a hard time with the etiquette dos and don’ts listed here. A good rule of thumb is to not include the kids until you’ve narrowed down your options and are ready to include them in the decision.

And there you have it – answers to the most frequently asked questions about open house etiquette. Now you can stop wondering what to do and start concentrating on whether the house is right for you. Of course, this is just the beginning of the process – if you want things to continue going smoothly, make sure you contact Sun Title for the closing experience of your dreams! Just dial 616-458- 9100 or stop by one of our convenient locations – you can even leave your shoes on and use our restroom if you’d like, no problem.

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