Open homes are pretty much a staple of real estate. They allow a large number of people to see the home, making it less intrusive on the owners (imagine conducting 25 private inspections through the week!). They also allow the buyers to self-qualify and come through and see the home without having to muck about making appointments, thereby enabling the buyers to work out a ‘run’ on the weekend.
Generally, a more convenient and time-efficient method. But the open home is not a free for all to do whatever you want. Remember, this is someone’s home. You are invited (albeit a general invitation) and like with all invitations; there is expected etiquette.
This is someone’s home, so please respect that. Agents ask for you to remove shoes so to limit dirt and damage to flooring. This isn’t a bad thing, you may end up buying the home, and I am sure you would like the idea of clean carpets, non-marked timber floor etc.
Do not bring food and drink.
If you stopped by at the café on the way, finish off your Mocha Soy Macchiato Latte before coming in. No one wants that spilt on the lovely white carpets. Also, pets should stay at home. Yes, you may have the cutest puppy in the world, but the occupants of the home may be allergic to animals, maybe even severely.
Not all homes are kid-proof.
Please ensure you are able to keep an eye on your children and not only with breakables. If there are children’s toys at home, this doesn’t mean your child can go play with them. This isn’t your local kindy.
Does it stay?
It is expected that as a prospective buyer, you will want to check out all aspects of the home. It’s ok to turn on a tap, see how the doors slide or try the bathroom exhaust. It is also ok to check out the cupboard sizes, pantry, linen etc. But only those elements of the home which stay. There is no need to open the fridge – it doesn’t stay. There is no need to check out the bedside tables; they don’t stay. (See here for what stays)
You are not the paparazzi
If you feel the need to take photos or video of your own, please always ask the agent first – you must seek permission. The home may be tenanted, and they may have strict instructions on what can be photographed for marketing. You taking your own photos may contravene this. Similarly, some people ask we blur certain people out of the marketing photos (like kids) as they don’t want them made public. You may say the photos are only for you and to show a partner who couldn’t make it, but I have seen plenty of times where people have uploaded their own photos on socials. Please be respectful of others.
This place sucks!
We understand the home may not be for you. In fact, you may flat out hate it – that’s fine. But please don’t be rude and blurt your criticisms out. The fact remains, that’s just your opinion, and guess what, no one else there really cares what you think. Actually, when we hear this, it often means that buyer is very keen, and they are just trying to put off others to eliminate competition. If you want to discuss elements of the home, please seek the agent out to have a private conversation.
Is this the Spanish Inquisition?
When you come to an open home, we will ask for your name and contact number. Unfortunately, some people get aggressive and refuse the request. That’s fine, but don’t come in. If you are concerned about being ‘harassed’ you can request not to be contacted.
But guess what, we have no desire to spend all day harassing anyone – it simply isn’t an enjoyable past time. There are legitimate reasons for collecting the information. If there is a robbery, the police will ask for the details of everyone who entered the home. If there is a fire, the fire brigade will want to know who was in the home and is there anyone missing or not accounted for. It can also be for insurance reasons.
But besides all this, we actually want to help you. Let’s say the home receives an offer that afternoon, if you had an interest, I am sure you would like to know in case you wished to also offer too. We often hear many buyers complaining about a home selling when they were interested and didn’t get a chance.
We ask questions like what type of home are you looking for, the number of beds and bathrooms, location, budget, walk in a do-nothing or happy to do work, etc so we can get an idea of what you are after. In case the home you are inspecting doesn’t suit, we may have something coming up which might suit better or even off-market homes. We are trying to help you, and there may be opportunities you may miss out on.
Finally, please just be a decent human.
Please consider others at the open home; please consider the home itself and its contents as well as the occupants/owner’s privacy. The open home is an invitation, not a right.
Written by Shawn Kristofer