Open House DO’s and DON’Ts

When in the market to purchase a property, one of the most critical first steps is to physically inspect, either via private inspection, or more commonly – an ‘open home’ conducted by the Agent.  This is a crucial part of the information gathering process and also allows you to get a real ‘feel’ for the property that you can’t from photos and marketing blurb.

To maximise the effectiveness of this experience, we have provided a few tips below, including a few things NOT to do.  It is important to respect that this is someone’s property.

1. Ask questions

The agent is there to sell the property, so ask as many questions as you like.  Also feel free to call the agent after the open house if you have additional questions. Common questions that buyers ask include:

  • has the property been renovated?
  • why are the owners selling?
  • have you received any offers for the property?
  • are big developments planned nearby?
  • how long has the property been on the market?
  • are there any known issues with the property, the land or the neighbours’ properties?

2. Check if anything is broken or squeaks

As long as you are polite about it, it’s totally okay to open kitchen cupboards, check the pressure on a tap, or see if the shed door squeaks; it’s also fine to use a tape measure to check dimensions.

3. Take photos or video, with permission

While online listings include more photos, video and floor plans than ever before, it’s generally considered acceptable for would-be buyers to take photos or videos at an open house. But make sure you check with the agent before doing so, just to be safe.

4. Make yourself at home, within reason

When thinking about buying a property, it’s natural to want to know how it “feels”, so feel free to sit down on the couch or at the kitchen counter; jumping on the bed is definitely off limits.

DO NOT:

1. Loudly criticise the property

It’s quite common to find flaws in a property when you inspect it, but it’s rude to walk around loudly criticising everything you see.  Instead, call the agent after the open to discuss any issues.

2. Bring coffee/food

It’s common courtesy not to bring food or drinks into a home which could make a mess if dropped.

3. Bring kids with muddy sports shoes

Open houses are often held on Saturdays and families with busy lives may fit them in between other commitments. Don’t let kids in muddy boots come through a house; consider the owners. In fact, unless otherwise advised by the Agent, it is protocol to remove footwear prior to entry.

4. Snoop

There’s a difference between taking a quick look at how deep a bathroom cupboard is and being a sticky-beak and going through someone’s personal possessions. While it should go without saying: don’t snoop.

On a final note, it is common for the Agent to ask for ID. This is standard practice when entering someone’s home under these circumstances.  The Agent is there to protect the owner’s asset and work in their best interests; please be understanding.